Defendant enters guilty plea to massive heathcare fraud
Posted on April 14, 2010 12:00 AM EST
A South Florida man entered a guilty plea in federal court to charges stemming from a $60 million Medicare fraud
scheme. Ihosvany Marquez appeared in federal court and admitted to a United States District Court judge that he was the ringleader of a healthcare scam that fraudulently billed the heathcare system at least $61 million for HIV, AIDS and cancer patients that never received the treatments. Out of the $61 million billed, Medicare paid out $24 million to eight Miami-Dade and Orlando health clinics owned by the Defendant. Present with the Marquez were attorneys from a Miami criminal defense law firm who will also be present in two or three months for the sentencing hearing.
Marquez entered a guilty plea to the charges of Medicare fraud and money laundering
. He admitted to laundering the fraudulently obtained money through a car dealership and two local check cashing stores. According to court records, he used the proceeds to purchase homes, expensive cars and jewelry, and race horses. As part of the plea deal, Marquez agreed to an asset forfeiture of all of these items. Other than losing everything, Marquez is looking at about 20 years in prison, hefty fines and restitution. Marquez was charged along with numerous other unnamed defendants for soliciting "straw patients" to the clinics. The purported patients were provided small sums of money or prescription medications in exchange for their federal healthcare information which was used for billing purposes.
The majority of the other co-conspirators were members of the Cuban immigrant community that were paid hefty sums to sign corporate documents and bank records in order to appear as the owners of the clinics. In reality, Marquez owned all of the clinics and was the director of the massive scheme to defraud. Many of the purported owners have fled the United States in an effort to avoid prosecution. While the U.S. and Cuba's strained relationship does not allow for extradition
, the co-conspirators will mostly likely be arrested if they attempt to re-enter the country.
Miami used to be known as the cocaine trafficking
capital of the United States, however, that title is in danger of being changed to the capital of healthcare fraud. Anyone operating clinics or medical supply companies must be aware that these types of businesses will continue to be subject to intense scrutiny for the foreseeable future. Federal law enforcement agencies and government prosecutors are being directed to stamp out the problem to make way for the new healthcare initiative. Anyone contacted regarding their involvement in a Medicare scheme to defraud should contact a criminal defense firm with years of experience defending clients in federal court. Remember; never speak with law enforcement without legal representation. Statements provided to law enforcement officers may provide the prosecution with evidence of intent which is an essential element of the crimes of Medicare fraud and money laundering.
Miami Man Admit Guilt in $60 Million Healthcare Scam, Reuters.com, April 13, 2010.