Director of Nursing Pleads Guilty in Miami to Role in $7 Million Health Care Fraud Scheme
WASHINGTON—A former director of nursing pleaded guilty today in connection with a health care fraud scheme involving Anna Nursing Services Corp. (Anna Nursing), a defunct home health care company in Miami.
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer of the Southern District of Florida, Special Agent in Charge George L. Piro of the FBI’s Miami Field Office, and Acting Special Agent in Charge Ryan Lynch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), Office of Investigations Miami office made the announcement.
Armando Buchillon, 42, of Hialeah, Florida, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Joan A. Lenard in the Southern District of Florida to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 6, 2014, before Judge Lenard.
According to court documents, Buchillon was a director of nursing at Anna Nursing, a Miami home health care agency that purported to provide home health and therapy services to Medicare beneficiaries. The owners and operators of Anna Nursing agreed to and actually did operate Anna Nursing for the purpose of billing the Medicare Program for, among other things, expensive physical therapy and home health care services that were not medically necessary and/or were not provided.
As part of the fraudulent scheme, Buchillon and his co-conspirators regularly falsified patient documentation in order to make it appear that beneficiaries qualified for and received home health care services, when, in fact, many of the beneficiaries did not actually qualify for or receive such services. In addition, Buchillon paid kickbacks and bribes to patient recruiters, in return for the recruiters providing patients to Anna Nursing for home health care and therapy services that were medically unnecessary and/or were not provided. Buchillon also worked as a patient recruiter for Anna Nursing and was paid kickbacks and bribes by the owner of Anna Nursing. Buchillon and his co-conspirators caused the submission of false and fraudulent claims to Medicare on behalf of these beneficiaries.
From approximately October 2010 through approximately April 2013, Anna Nursing was paid by Medicare approximately $7 million for fraudulent claims for home health care services that were medically unnecessary and/or were not provided.
The case was investigated by the FBI and HHS-OIG and was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, under the supervision of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida. This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys A. Brendan Stewart and Anne P. McNamara of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.
Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged nearly 1,900 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $6 billion. In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.
To learn more about the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), go to: www.stopmedicarefraud.gov.