Miami Man Pleads Guilty in $61 Million Medicare Fraud Scheme
Defendant Spent Millions on Exotic Cars, Jewelry, and Horses
|U.S. Attorney’s Office April 13, 2010|
Jeffrey H. Sloman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; John V. Gillies, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Miami Field Office; Amos Rojas, Jr., Special Agent in Charge, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Miami Regional Operations Center; and Daniel W. Auer, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, announced that defendant Ihosvany Marquez, of Miami-Dade County, pled guilty on April 12, 2010 to charges of conspiracy to commit Medicare fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and aggravated identity theft. Another defendant, Michel De Jesus Huarte, pled guilty in November 2009 to a related Medicare fraud scheme, and was sentenced in January 2010 to 22 years’ imprisonment.
Marquez’s plea agreement contained a detail factual proffer that was filed with the court. In the factual proffer, Marquez admitted that he, along with co-defendant Michel De Jesus Huarte and others, operated and controlled eight purported medical clinics in Miami-Dade and Orange counties. These clinics were Zigma Medical Care, Inc., Tender Loving Care Medical Center, Inc., Professional Medical Health, Inc., Metro Med Care, Inc., San Diego Medical & Rehab Center, Inc., Eulogia's Diagnostic Medical Center, Inc., Stirling Medical & Rehab, and Stop Injury Medical Center, Inc. These clinics submitted at least $61 million in false claims to Medicare for infusion therapy, injection therapy, and other expensive medical treatments designed to treat Medicare beneficiaries suffering from a wide variety of ailments, including cancer, HIV, AIDS, chronic pain, and varicose veins. Based on these fraudulent claims, Medicare paid Marquez and his conspirators approximately $23.9 million.
To conceal their involvement in the scheme, Marquez and his conspirators recruited nominee, or “straw,” owners for each company, and paid them large sums of cash to sign the corporate records, bank records, and other business documents before fleeing the country to avoid arrest. One such nominee owner, Madelin Machado of Zigma Medical, was indicted in the Southern District of Florida in January 2008 (Case No. 08-20033-HUCK), and remains a fugitive today.
During his plea, Marquez admitted that he laundered the Medicare fraud proceeds through a Miami-area car dealership, and also through two Miami check cashing stores—Pelly Box Lunch and La Bamba Check Cashing. To facilitate these laundering schemes, Marquez also filtered the money through dozens of shell corporations, many of which contained words like “telemarketing,” “construction,” “investment,” or “leasing” in the title to make the companies look legitimate. Example shell corporations included Babalu Telemarketing, Madreagua Construction, Palomayonve Construction, Biramundo Telemarketing, and Shine Telemarketing.
Marquez also admitted during the plea that he used Medicare fraud proceeds to buy approximately $2.7 million of luxury cars, including a Lamborghini Gallardo, a Lamborghini Murcielago, a Ferrari 612 Scaglietti, two (2) Bentley Continental GTs, two (2) Mercedes Benz CL63s, and at least six (6) Mercedes Benz S550s. Marquez also used fraud proceeds to buy more than $1 million of thoroughbred racing horses, and more than $545,000 worth of jewelry and diamonds.
“Billions of dollars are stolen from Medicare—from U.S. taxpayers—by criminals who use our money to fund their lavish lifestyle,” said Special Agent in Charge John V. Gillies of the FBI’s Miami Division. “Our message to those that defraud Medicare is that you will be caught and you will go to jail. The FBI and its partners have concentrated extensive resources towards combating health care fraud and will continue to develop new strategies and initiatives to put more criminals behind bars and save taxpayers’ money.”
Mr. Sloman commended the investigative efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ryan Stumphauzer and Daniel Bernstein.
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 www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.