Friday, December 07, 2007
ANOTHER MILLIONAIRE MEDICARE FRAUD AFFECTING TAXPAYER POCKETS. WHY WE CONTINUE TO BLAMING UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS?
MIAMI DME OPERATORS CHARGED IN $11 MILLION MEDICARE FRAUD CASE
December 04, 2007
R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Jonathan I. Solomon, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Melody Jackson, Special Agent in Charge, Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, Atlanta Region, announced that defendants Alicia Rodriguez and Juan Viera were held without bond in connection with an Indictment unsealed last week charging them with Medicare fraud and money laundering. Defendants Rodriguez and Viera are both charged with five counts of mail fraud and four counts of money laundering. Defendant Rodriguez is also charged with one count of obstruction of a criminal health care fraud investigation. The charges stem from a multi-million dollar Medicare fraud case involving two Miami medical equipment companies, R&N (“R&N”) Medical Supplies, Inc. and A&S (“A&S”) Medical Services, Inc.
According to the Indictment and evidence proffered at the pretrial detention hearing, in early 2006, defendants Rodriguez and Viera purchased R&N and A&S for the purpose of submitting fraudulent Medicare claims. To conceal their ownership and control of these companies, they used a nominee owner on the corporate, Medicare, and banking documents for the two companies. Over the 5-week period between March 7, 2006 and April 13, 2006, the defendants used these two companies to submit more than $11 million in fraudulent Medicare claims. These claims sought reimbursement for medical equipment that had not been ordered by a physician, was not medically necessary, and was not delivered as claimed.
This fraud was uncovered when large cash withdrawals from the R&N bank account caught the attention of law enforcement in April 2006. Specifically, on April 7, 2006, $110,000 in cash was withdrawn from the R&N account. When the agents tracked down the purported owner and corporate officer of R&N, the individual was living in a small efficiency apartment without air conditioning or running water. When served with a subpoena requiring the production of R&N’s business records, the individual admitted that she was not the true owner of R&N. She explained that she had been recruited by defendant Alicia Rodriguez to pose as the owner of both R&N and A&S. In return for her services, she received occasional cash payments from defendant Rodriguez.
Thereafter, the individual agreed to cooperate and arranged a meeting with defendant Rodriguez to discuss the subpoena. This meeting was recorded. During this meeting, defendant Rodriguez directed the individual to provide false information to the federal agent and the grand jury concerning R&N. Defendant Rodriguez repeatedly warned the individual not to mention her name or “Juan’s” name to the government. At the conclusion of the meeting, defendant Rodriguez handed the individual an envelope containing $4600 in cash and suggested a trip to Puerto Rico.
Mr. Acosta commended the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Health and Human Services for their investigation of this matter. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Adrienne Rabinowitz.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov