This appeared on Bloomberg News today:
“WellCare Shares Jump After Analyst Calls Fraud Probe `Limited’
Nov. 20 (Bloomberg) – WellCare Health Plans Inc., the U.S. health insurer under investigation for possible government overpayments, rose the most in two weeks in New York trading after an analyst upgraded the company.
“The analyst, Carl McDonald of CIBC World Markets in New York, called the probe ‘limited’ and raised his rating of WellCare to ‘sector outperform-speculative’ from ‘sector perform.’ WellCare rose $2.38, or 6.8 percent, to $37.39 at 9:40 a.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading after touching $38.14.
“A U.S. government raid of WellCare’s Tampa, Florida, headquarters on Oct. 24 yielded thousands of records, including papers pulled from a shredder bin and files on offshore bank accounts, according to court filings. McDonald said the filings suggest the probe is focused on Florida’s Medicaid program for the poor.
“’It’s possible that the Florida Medicaid investigation spreads into other areas, but the document seems to rule out widespread, systemic fraud,’ the analyst said in a note to clients today.”
Bloomberg also reveals that: “The agents seized records from the desks of Chief Executive Officer Todd Farha and Chief Financial Officer Paul Behrens, according to the court records. From Behrens’ desk, agents grabbed a document called the ‘Stairway to Heaven Plan,’ according to the inventory.
“Also taken were wire transfers, tax returns, bank accounts in the Grand Cayman Islands, a calendar of political visitors and contributions, and phone lists. One seized document was labeled ‘Re: Possible Kickback,’ according to the court records”.
Yet none of this seems to bother the analyst who upgraded the stock or the many investors who followed his upgrade–pushing the share price up 6.8 percent this morning. The analyst predicts that “that WellCare [will] settle, pay a fine, but remain in all its businesses, rather than being put out of business.”