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Two south florida doctors convicted in miami medicare fraud case

Posted on August 25, 2009 3:00 AM EST

Two physicians practicing in Miami were found guilty of Medicare fraud by a federal jury. The defendants were accused of being involved in an HIV-infusion scheme to defraud. This case is just another example of the rampant Medicare fraud that is occurring in Miami and the South Florida area. Every week, new articles come out discussing the results of federal Medicare fraud trials. The two doctors who were convicted in federal court are facing lengthy prison terms after being found guilty of conspiring with three other doctors in a Medicare fraud scheme that billed 19.5 million dollars for prescribing obsolete HIV drugs. Both doctors were each represented by an experienced Miami criminal lawyer.

Dr, Manuel Barbeite and Dr. Walter Proano were convicted earlier in the month for writing prescriptions for expensive HIV infusion services that were never provided to their patients. Despite the fact that the patients never received the treatments, both doctors billed Medicare, a government healthcare program. The jury convicted Barbeite of two counts of fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit fraud which carries a potential sentence of 20 years. Proano was convicted of one charge of fraud and count of conspiracy to commit fraud and is now facing 15 years in federal prison. The sentencing hearings are set for October 29, 2009.

Both doctors were employed by an HIV clinic that received almost $16 million dollars after submitting fraudulent bills for HIV treatments that allegedly occurred from 2003 to 2006. Last year three other doctors from the same clinic, Carmen Lourdes del Cueto, Marco Tulio Molinares and Alejandro Enrique Casuso pled guilty to defrauding the Medicare system. Esther Romeu, the clinic owner also pled guilty to committing Medicare fraud.

In another recent Medicare fraud case, Reinaldo Guerra, a medical equipment supplier, pled guilty to submitting Medicare claims in the amount of $123 million dollars for billing for artificial limbs for patients that were already dead. Guerra was the owner/operator of 11 medical equipment companies. He was convicted of Medicare fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud. Guerra is scheduled to be sentenced on November 13, 2009 and is facing 20 years in prison. Guerra's partner fled Miami is purportedly living somewhere is South America.

Two weeks ago, Adonis Ortiz, of Hialieah was found guilty by a jury of submitting $6.2 million in fraudulent claims to Medicare for medical procedures that were neither prescribed nor provided to patients. A federal jury convicted Ortiz of three counts of Medicare fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit fraud. He is facing 10 years in federal prison.

2 Miami-Dade Doctors Convicted of Medicare Fraud, The Miami Herald, August 18, 2009.
Categories: Fraud