Manhattan Doctor Pleads Guilty to $8.5 Million Medicare Fraud Scheme
|U.S. Attorney’s Office February 25, 2013|
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that Dr. Roberto Aymat, a medical doctor, pled guilty today in Manhattan federal court to participating in a scheme to defraud Medicare out of approximately $8.5 million through the use of fraudulent HIV/AIDS clinics in New York. As part of the scheme, Aymat and others billed Medicare for medications that were never administered or that were administered but were medically unnecessary. He pled guilty before U.S. District Judge George B. Daniels. Three other participants in the scheme, Asmed Barrera, Augusto Guzman, and Jorge Rivero, previously pled guilty.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said, “Roberto Aymat used his medical license to perpetrate a multi-million-dollar fraud on Medicare—a program that provides a lifeline to its beneficiaries and that is struggling financially to stay afloat. His exploitation of this vital, taxpayer-funded program was egregious and with his plea today, he has been held to account.”
According to the complaint and the indictment filed in this case:
Aymat, along with Barrera, Guzman, Rivero, also a medical doctor, and others operated three medical clinics in New York City that purported to provide drug treatments to Medicare-eligible HIV/AIDS patients, but that were, in reality, health care fraud mills.
The defendants executed the fraudulent scheme by recruiting HIV/AIDS patients eligible for Medicare and paying them kickbacks in exchange for signing on as patients at the clinics. The defendants then used these patients’ status as Medicare beneficiaries to submit claims for reimbursement to Medicare for drugs that had been prescribed to these patients. In fact, these medications were never purchased and never administered, or were administered, but were medically unnecessary.
From January 2007 to April 2009, Aymat and his co-conspirators billed Medicare for more than 10 times the number of units of prescription drugs they actually purchased, defrauding the Medicare system of at least $8.5 million.
Aymat, 44, a resident of Manhattan, pled guilty to conspiring to commit fraud in connection with a health care benefits program and to committing healthcare fraud and mail fraud. He faces a penalty of up to 50 years in prison and is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Daniels on June 18, 2013.
Mr. Bharara praised the investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, New York Region.
The prosecution is being handled by the Office’s Complex Frauds Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Kan M. Nawaday and Jason H. Cowley are in charge of the prosecution.