Medicare Beneficiaries and Patient Recruiter Found Convicted of Accepting Kickbacks from Home Health Agency
|U.S. Attorney’s Office December 12, 2012|
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Michael B. Steinbach, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office; Christopher B. Dennis, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG); and Antonio J. Gomez, Acting Inspector in Charge, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Miami Division, announce that defendants Marianela Terrero, Daymi Fuentes Gil, Olga Martinez Rodriguez, and Joel Loyola were convicted by a jury after trial of conspiracy to pay and receive health care kickbacks related to home health services. Sentencing has been scheduled for February 19, 2013, at 11:30 a.m. before U.S. District Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks.
According to the evidence presented at trial, the kickbacks were paid by the owner of Superstar Home Health Care Inc. (Superstar), a Miami home health agency that provided services to purportedly homebound Medicare beneficiaries. Defendant Terrero was convicted of conspiracy and accepting kickbacks in exchange for referring Medicare beneficiaries to serve as patients of Superstar. Defendants Fuentes Gil, Martinez Rodriguez, and Loyola were Medicare beneficiaries who were convicted of accepting kickbacks in exchange for being patients of Superstar.
In total, 18 defendants were charged in connection with the conspiracy to pay kickbacks at Superstar. Among those charged were Pablo Orama, Vivian Augustine (president and manager of Superstar), employees of Superstar, and patient recruiters and Medicare beneficiaries who accepted kickbacks.
Defendant Pablo Orama pled guilty to conspiring with others to pay health care kickbacks from October 2010 through April 2012. In his plea, Orama admitted that he provided funds to purchase Superstar. In addition, beginning in October 2010, Orama and co-defendants agreed to pay kickbacks to increase business for Superstar and actually paid kickbacks to patient recruiters and Medicare beneficiaries. U.S. District Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks sentenced Orama to 46 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release. Orama was also ordered to pay $742,742.15 in restitution to the Medicare program.
Defendant Vivian Augustine, the president and manager of Superstar, pled guilty and is scheduled to be sentenced on December 18, 2012.
To date, 13 of the 18 defendants originally charged have pled guilty. Five proceeded to trial, and four were convicted. The fifth defendant, Ariane Marchioro Amorim, was acquitted.
The case was investigated by the FBI, HHS-OIG, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Morales.
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.