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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Former Husband and Wife Sentenced for Their Roles in $5.8 Million Fraudulent HIV Infusion Scheme in Miami

WASHINGTON – David Marrero, a founder of and consultant at a fraudulent Miami-area HIV/AIDS infusion clinic known as Tendercare Medical Center Inc., was sentenced today to 10 years in prison for his role in a $5.8 million scheme to defraud the Medicare program, announced the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services (HHS). Marrero’s ex-wife, Maria Valero Marrero, the owner and operator of Tendercare, was also sentenced today to 70 months in prison.

In addition to the prison terms, David and Maria Marrero each were sentenced by U.S. District Judge Ursula Ungaro in the Southern District of Florida to three years of supervised release. David and Maria Marrero were also ordered to pay restitution jointly and severally with co-defendants in the amount of $2.7 million.

David Marrero was convicted by a federal jury in May 2010 of one count of health care fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and one count of money laundering. Maria Marrero pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud in April 2010. According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, David and Maria Marrero participated in a scheme to defraud Medicare by submitting claims for injection and infusion treatments that were medically unnecessary and, in most instances, were not provided. Maria Marrero admitted to conspiring to pay kickbacks to induce Medicare beneficiaries to provide their Medicare numbers and their signatures, which were used by Tendercare to submit fraudulent claims to Medicare for injection and infusion services. According to court documents, David Marrero transferred ownership of the fraudulent HIV clinic to Maria Valero Marrero as part of a divorce settlement.

According to court documents, between January 2005 and December 2007, Tendercare submitted approximately $5.8 million in false and fraudulent claims to Medicare. Medicare paid Tendercare approximately $2.7 million.

Today’s sentences were announced by Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer of the Southern District of Florida; John V. Gillies, Special Agent-in-Charge of the FBI’s Miami field office; and Special Agent-in-Charge Christopher Dennis of the HHS Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), Office of Investigations Miami office.

The cases were prosecuted by Fraud Section Trial Attorney Charles D. Reed and former Special Trial Attorney Martha Talley, on detail from HHS-OIG.

The cases were brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, supervised by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida and the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section. Since their inception in March 2007, Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations in seven districts have obtained indictments of more than 810 individuals who collectively have fraudulently billed the Medicare program for more than $1.85 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 Action Team (HEAT), go to: www.stopmedicarefraud.gov.

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