Thursday, December 06, 2007
CLINIC OWNER RECEIVES 9 YEAR SENTENCE IN MEDICARE FRAUD SCHEME. FOR HIS ROLE IN ORCHESTRATING A $ 6,400,000 HEALTH CARE FRAUD AND MONEY LAUNDERING SCHEME.
R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Jonathan I. Solomon, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Miami Field Office, announced today that on November 30, 2007, United States District Court Judge Jose E. Martinez sentenced Raul Rodriguez , 34 of Miramar, to a 108 month prison term for his role in orchestrating a $6,400,0000 health care fraud and money laundering scheme. In August 2007, Rodriguez pled guilty to four separate counts of an April 2007 indictment that included charges of health care fraud, money laundering and a conspiracy to obstruct the investigations being conducted by the Miami Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and a Miami Federal Grand Jury. In addition, Rodriguez was ordered to pay $6,486,017 in restitution to the Medicare program and also agreed to pay a $5,700,000 money judgement and forfeit more than $100,000 in cash as well as a 2007 Land Rover.
Co-defendants Armando Arias, Carlos Enrique Monteagudo, Alain Rhaf Vega, Marisol Gonzalez-Torres were sentenced earlier this month and received sentences ranging from 57 to 97 months. Three other defendants are scheduled to be sentenced in December 2007.
At sentencing the government highlighted the fact that Rodriguez lived a lavish lifestyle while he simultaneously endangered people’s lives by having his staff inject HIV and AIDS patients with saline solution drawn from used medicine bottles instead of prescribed medications. In 2005, Rodriguez had also made threats against the investigating FBI agents stating they “would die” as a result of his religious powers.
Rodriguez and eleven other co-defendants were charged in connection with a systematic effort to defraud the Medicare program through a series of durable medical equipment companies and HIV medical clinics that operated in Miami from 2004 through 2005. Rodriguez, Arias, Monteagudo, Vega, Gonzalez-Torres and their co-conspirators submitted more than $12.5 million in false and fraudulent claims for medical equipment, expensive HIV treatments, and related medications. The group was operating an HIV clinic known as Coral Way Professional Health Services, Inc. and recruited and then paid the patients to attend the clinic.
In furtherance of the fraud scheme, Rodriguez and Arias laundered a substantial portion of the fraud proceeds through a series of shell corporations the pair set up for the sole purpose of concealing the illicit monies. In September 2007, co-defendant, Leonel Galdos, Jr., was convicted by a Miami jury of money laundering and obstruction charges after a four day trial. Galdos is currently incarcerated and faces sentencing next month.
Rodriguez and Arias were also convicted of a related conspiracy charge involving the obstruction of investigations by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and a Federal Grand Jury into the health care fraud and money laundering schemes. Rodriguez and Arias met with potential government witnesses and encouraged them to lie to agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and/or a Federal Grand Jury.
Two other men, Lazaro Jorge Ocejo and Ramon De Los Santos pled guilty to related health care fraud conspiracy and money laundering charges earlier this year. See , U.S. v. Jorge Lazaro Ocejo , 06-20625-CR-Cooke and U.S. v. Ramon De Los Santos , 06206-CR-Altonaga. The Honorable Cecilia M. Altonaga sentenced De Los Santos to a prison term of 21 months for his role in laundering Coral Way proceeds. Ocejo was sentenced to a prison term of 37 months by the Honorable Marcia G. Cooke.
The case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney William J. Parente Jr. of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.