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Defendant sentenced to 8 years in miami medicare fraud case

Posted on September 23, 2009 3:00 AM EST

Another day, another Miami Medicare fraud defendant is sentenced in federal court. Every day the Miami Herald publishes another article regarding on the ongoing indictments, pleas and sentencing hearings surrounding Medicare fraud. Indicted several months ago, Alcides Garcia fled the United States to avoid being prosecuted for Medicare Fraud. He fled South Florida over a year ago while free on bail. At his initial bond hearing a federal magistrate accepted a $200,000 bond to assure his presence in court.

Garcia pled guilty to one Medicare fraud and was sentenced to eight years in federal prison. The defendant asked the court for forgiveness prior to the imposition of the sentence handed down by the U.S. District Judge. Garcia's Miami criminal lawyer argued that the amount of the loss claimed by the prosecution of $10.7 million far exceeded the $2.2 million actually collected from the federal healthcare fund for hospital supplies and medical equipment that were actually never purchased or used. Garcia admitted to fraudulently billing Medicare from 2002 to 2004, while acting as the owner/operator of A&Y Medical Supply.

United States District Judge, Marcia Cooke, ordered that Garcia pay restitution to Medicare for compensation for the losses that resulted from the fraud. It should be noted that despite the large number of prosecutions and convictions in Medicare fraud cases, a very small percentage of the restitution is ever paid by the defendants. One can only believe that the balance sheets for healthcare funds like Medicare and Medicaid have suffered due to the hundreds of Miami healthcare fraud cases.

Investigators determined that Garcia fled the United States and traveled to Mexico, Spain and the Canary Islands on a fraudulent Mexican passport. Garcia became careless when he went to a shipping company and tried to have his belongings sent there from Miami. The owner of the shipping company became suspicious because Garcia appeared to be of Cuban descent, but he claimed to be Mexican. As a result of business owner's suspicion, he performed an internet search on his newest customer and determined that he was a federal fugitive from justice on Medicare fraud charges. The business owner contacted the FBI in Miami, who in turn contacted the Spanish National Police who placed him under arrest. Federal extradition laws along with an extradition agreement with the United States secured his return to face charges.

Miami Medicare Fraud Defendant Gets 8 Years, The Miami Herald, September 22, 2009.
Categories: Fraud