Federal agents are searching Universal Health Care's St. Petersburg headquarters Thursday. The raid started just after 8 AM as employees were arriving for what they thought would be their second to last day of work.
"You couldn't touch your computer. We couldn't punch in," said employee Jessica Jines.
Jines and other employees said they were told last week that nearly everyone on the 800 person staff would be laid off this Friday.
"You work for them. You give them your all. You come to work. You work overtime and they just didn't care," said employee Mei Hilliard.
Agents with the US Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Inspector General arrived at the Central Ave. office with a search warrant Thursday. FBI agents are assisting with the search. HHS OIG Special Agent Ryan Lynch would not say exactly what they were looking for, but said his department primarily investigates healthcare fraud.
"Anyone who provides services to the public for medicare beneficiaries or medicaid recipients that we the government pays for those services and we suspect there may be fraud going on, those are the types of cases that we would investigate," explained HHS OIG Special Agent Ryan Lynch.
Universal Health Care reported in a public news release on February 14 that they had filed for protection from creditors under Chapter 11 of the Federal Bankruptcy Code. The company is currently in the process of being liquidated by state regulators.
The company is holding a job fair today for all of the employees who will be laid off. Federal agents are allowing the employees to attend the job fair, but they cannot go back to their desks.
Stay with wfla.com for more details on this developing story.
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