Agents raid healthcare provider WellCare

Oct. 24, 2007 at 5:55 PM

TAMPA, Fla., Oct. 24 (UPI) -- Federal and state agents Wednesday raided the Florida headquarters of WellCare Health Plans, collecting evidence from computers and questioning executives.

WellCare employees reported dozens of armed agents entered the Tampa offices, telling employees of the billing department to leave, Tampa television station WTVT reported. Executive personnel were being questioned and evidence was being collected from computers inside the buildings.

The New York Stock Exchange halted trading of shares in WellCare, which provides managed care plans for Medicare and Medicaid participants nationwide, The Wall Street Journal reported. Before trading was suspended, the stock fell $6.77, roughly 6 percent, to $115.50.

Steve Cole, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Tampa, confirmed that more than 200 agents were involved in the raid, which he said covered several different buildings, as part of an ongoing investigation. Cole did not elaborate, the TV station said.

WellCare issued a statement via Business Wire, saying, "Today federal and state officials executed a search warrant at our Tampa headquarters. We are cooperating with the authorities. Our number one priority is making sure that our members have access to needed care and services. Our essential services are operational and will remain uninterrupted."

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