South Florida Man Pleads Guilty to Role in $10.5 Million Medicare Fraud Scheme
|U.S. Department of Justice December 18, 2013|
WASHINGTON—A south Florida man has pleaded guilty today to his role in a $10.5 million Medicare fraud scheme involving physical and occupational therapy services.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Florida A. Lee Bentley, III, Special Agent in Charge Paul Wysopal of the FBI’s Tampa Field Office, and Special Agent in Charge Christopher Dennis of the U.S. Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) Office of Investigations made the announcement.
Luis Alberto Garcia Perojo, 42, pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida to conspiring to commit health care fraud. He faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, and his sentencing will be scheduled at a later date.
According to documents filed in the case, Garcia conspired with others to execute a health care fraud scheme through Renew Therapy Center of Port St. Lucie LLC, a comprehensive outpatient rehabilitation facility that he helped operate. From November 2007 through August 2009, Renew Therapy submitted approximately $10,549,361 in fraudulent claims for reimbursement to Medicare for therapy services that were not legitimately prescribed and not legitimately provided to Medicare beneficiaries. As a result of those fraudulent claims, Medicare deposited approximately $6,248,056 into a Renew Therapy bank account. The fraud proceeds in that account were later disbursed to various entities, including a combined total of $1,847,222 to Ariguanabo Investment Group Inc. and IRE Diagnostic Center Inc. Garcia was president of Ariguanabo Investment Group and had authority over bank accounts for Ariguanabo Investment Group and IRE Diagnostic Center, both of which were shell companies. Garcia and others used this money from Renew Therapy for, among other purposes, paying kickbacks to obtain Medicare beneficiary identifying information that was used in Renew Therapy’s fraudulent reimbursement claims.
This case is being 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 U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida. This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Christopher J. Hunter 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 more than 1,700 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $5.5 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 Team (HEAT), go to www.stopmedicarefraud.gov.