News Americas, TALLAHASSEE, FL, Thurs. July 24, 2014: A Haitian national who claims he started his Miami health care organization after becoming award of the resistance of many Haitian and Haitian-Americans to seeking medical attention, has been slapped with charges of grand theft, aggravated white collar crime and communications fraud.
Jacques Calixte, 44, the founder and operator of Miami’s Haitian American Association against Cancer, is accused of billing the state of Florida for nearly $300,000 for services he failed to provide.
On its website, the group says it serves “as a support center for cancer survivors, particularly, Haitians and Haitian-Americans, who are suffering from the trials and tribulations of cancer.” But on Wednesday, Florida authorities say the organization hardly arranged any actual breast cancer screenings for at-risk women.
An investigation by the Florida Department of Financial Services’ Office of Fiscal Integrity found that between 2011 and 2013, Calixte provided fraudulent bank statements and payroll checks to the Florida Department of Health in order to receive payments. He also provided information about clients who never received treatment, complete with fabricated healthcare clinic reports.
Calixte, doing business as the Haitian American Association Against Cancer, was found to have spent as little as $16,000 for client screenings in 2011. Between 2012 and 2013, investigators found no evidence of expenditures for clinical screening or testing for Haitian American women as required by the contracts. In all, Calixte is accused of stealing at least $287,000 in state money. According to an arrest warrant, he admitted falsifying some records but insisted he had helped many women, often using his own money.
Chief Financial Officer, Jeff Atwater, said: “Stealing state funds intended to help prevent a vulnerable population of Floridians from suffering the consequences of cancer is unconscionable,” said CFO Atwater. “I am proud of our investigators for their work to put this selfish fraudster behind bars where he belongs.”
Calixte remained in jail late Wednesday and had no listed attorney in court records.
“When mammograms and early cancer screenings are matters of life and death for low-income women, stealing the money intended to save their lives is a new low,” added Miami Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle. “Ending these thefts will mean that future funding will go to individuals and agencies intent on saving lives, not lining one’s pocket.”