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Joint Unlicensed Activity Investigation Leads to Arrest in Stuart

By Florida Department of Health, Office of Communications

September 26, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 26, 2014

Contact: Communications Office
(850) 245-4111

JOINT UNLICENSED ACTIVITY INVESTIGATION LEADS TO ARREST IN STUART

TALLAHASSEE—The Florida Department of Health’s Palm Beach Unlicensed Activity (ULA) Unit announced that their joint investigation with the Martin County Sheriff’s Office has led to the arrest of Richard Ruperto for the alleged unlicensed practice of a health care profession, a third degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison. Ruperto was also arrested for the unlicensed practice of mental health counseling, a first degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail.

The joint operation was conducted over a series of days: August 13, August 26, and September 25, 2014. Ruperto practiced unlicensed mental health counseling on an undercover investigator at the TC-4 Counseling Center in Stuart, FL.

The Department has several resources to combat unlicensed activity:

  • Consumers are encouraged to use the Department’s website www.flhealthsource.com where they can conveniently view the license information of their health care practitioner.
  • Complaints may be filed anonymously by completing and mailing the complaint form on the Florida Department of Health’s Web site, or by calling 1-877-425-8852 (877-HALT-ULA).

The Department’s ULA program protects Florida residents and visitors from the potentially serious and dangerous consequences of receiving medical and health care services from an unlicensed person. The Department’s Division of Medical Quality Assurance (MQA) investigates and refers for prosecution all unlicensed health care activity complaints and allegations. The ULA unit works in conjunction with law enforcement and the state attorney’s offices to prosecute individuals practicing without a license. In many instances, unlicensed activity is a felony-level criminal offense. More importantly, receiving health care from unlicensed people is dangerous and could result in further injury, disease or even death.

The Department works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts. During 2014, the Department is recognizing 125 years of public health in Florida with educational opportunities and events. Please visit www.FLHealth125.gov for more information.

Follow us on Twitter at @HealthyFla and on Facebook. For more information about the Florida Department of Health please visit www.floridahealth.gov.

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