Attorney General Pam Bondi News Release
July 19, 2017
Contact: Whitney Ray
Phone: (850) 245-0150
10 Assisted Living Facility Owners Sentenced in Health Care Kickback Scheme
TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation today announced the sentencing of 10 Miami-Dade County assisted living facility owners for participating in a scheme to receive health care kickbacks.
The defendants conspired with the former owner of Florida Pharmacy to receive kickbacks and bribes in exchange for referring beneficiaries living in their facilities for prescription medication and durable medical equipment paid for by Medicare and Medicaid. The assisted living facility owners’ participation in the fraudulent scheme violated their Medicaid provider agreement as well as federal and state anti-kickback rules and regulations.
Each defendant previously pled guilty to receipt of kickbacks in connection with a federal health care program. The Honorable Marcia G. Cooke, U.S. District Judge, sentenced nine of the defendants to prison time ranging from eight months to one year and one day, followed by three years of supervised release. The 10th defendant is sentenced to home confinement, followed by three years of supervised release. All of the defendants are ordered to pay restitution and are subject to forfeiture judgments.
The defendants sentenced in connection to the kickback scheme include:
· Alicia Almeida, 56, of Miami Lakes;
· Norma Casanova, 67, of Miami Lakes;
· Yeny De Erbiti, 51, of Miami;
· Maribel Galvan, 43, of Miami Lakes;
· Marlene Marrero, 60, of Miami;
· Blanca Orozco, 69, of Miramar;
· Dianelys Perez, 34, of Miami Gardens;
· Jorge Rodriguez, 57, of Hialeah;
· Osniel Vera, 47, of Hialeah; and
· Rene Vega, 57, of Miami.
Attorney General Bondi’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, the FBI and HHS-OIG investigated the case. Through an agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, a MFCU prosecutor handled the case.
For related court documents and additional information, click here or here.
The Florida Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit investigates and prosecutes providers that intentionally defraud the state's Medicaid program through fraudulent billing practices. Medicaid fraud essentially steals from Florida's taxpayers. From Jan. 2011 to the present, Attorney General Bondi's MFCU has obtained more than $700 million in settlements and judgments. Additionally, the MFCU investigates allegations of patient abuse, neglect, and exploitation in facilities receiving payments under the Medicaid program. In 2017, the MFCU was awarded the Inspector General's Award for Excellence in Fighting Fraud, Waste and Abuse. This award is presented annually to the nation’s top MFCU by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General.