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Clinic consultant convicted on medicare fraud charges

Posted on May 04, 2010 12:00 AM EST

The Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services announced that a former clinic owner was convicted of charges including Medicare fraud and money laundering in federal court. The charges stemmed from Medicare fraud scheme that billed the federal healthcare system for approximately $5.8 million dollars for HIV/AIDS infusions. According to the evidence provided at trial by government prosecutors, David Marrero was the owner/operator of a clinic in Miami that billed the federal healthcare system for expensive treatments including injections and infusions for HIV/AIDS patients. The evidence at trial alleged that the defendant recruited patients to attend his clinic. The patients did not suffer from any illness, nor were treatments ever provided to the patients.

During 2005 and 2007, Marrero allegedly submitted $5.8 million dollars in bills to Medicare. As a result of the fraudulent claims, Medicare paid out $2.7 for treatments that were not needed or never provided. Many former patients and employees of his clinic testified against Marrero at trial. Some of witnesses had been formally charged while others were never arrested and charged. In the prosecution of a Medicare fraud case, or any other type of criminal case for that matter, prosecutors will give plea deals to those co-defendants who cooperate against the ringleader of the scheme to defraud. In other instances, prosecutors will forgo charging an individual involved in a crime in exchange for cooperation in prosecuting the case.

In this case, a 76 year-old patient testified that he reached a deal with the clinic. It was agreed that the patient would receive a portion of the money billed to Medicare. The claim filed by clinic claimed that the patient suffered from HIV, as well as, other serious blood disorders. The claim alleged that the patient received an excessive amount of medication that could not possibly be tolerated by a human. The government called an expert witness who testified that it was impossible for a patient to receive that dosage in a single appointment. It should be noted that Medicare has recently instituted a system that can check whether patients are receiving impossible amounts of medication.

One of the clinic's former employees also testified against Marrero at trial. She testified how she was trained to falsify blood samples to justify the billings to Medicare. Evidence also came to light at trial that elderly patients received kickbacks for appearing at the clinics and providing social security and healthcare numbers. The case was investigated by the Medicare Strike Force which has been targeting clinics in Miami and the South Florida area for the last couple of years. The case was prosecuted by the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida. The Strike Force operates in seven districts throughout the country and have been responsible for more than 500 indictments in federal court.

After the guilty verdict, Marrero was taken into custody pending his sentencing hearing. He is facing up to 10 years in prison on each count for which he was convicted and up to a $250,000 fine. Medicare fraud is constantly being investigated and prosecuted across the county. If you are being investigated or prosecuted for Medicare fraud, contact a Miami criminal defense law firm with experience in defending these types of cases. Anyone facing these types of charges needs representation from a criminal lawyer seasoned in defending cases in federal court.

Miami Clinic Consultant Convicted in $5.8 Million Fraudulent HIV Infusion Scheme, PRNewswire.com, May 4, 2010.
Categories: Fraud