WASHINGTON – Two brothers pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Miami for participating in a $13.7 million HIV infusion Medicare fraud scheme, announced the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services (HHS).
Rolando Nogueira, 48, and his brother, Jose Nogueira, 52, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Adalberto Jordan in the Southern District of Florida to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, to cause submission of false claims to Medicare, and to pay health care kickbacks; one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud; and three counts of submitting false claims. Rolando and Jose Nogueira were originally charged in a March 2010 indictment. At sentencing, scheduled for Nov. 5, 2010, the Nogueiras each face a maximum penalty of five years in prison for the conspiracy to defraud the United States count and each false claims count, and 10 years in prison for the health care fraud conspiracy count.
According to plea documents, Rolando Nogueira was an owner and operator of T&R Rehabilitation Professional Corp., a Miami clinic that purported to provide expensive injection and infusion treatments to patients with HIV. Jose Nogueira worked at T&R. Rolando Nogueira admitted at his plea hearing that he agreed with his co-defendants and others to have them enlist patient recruiters and patients, among others, into a scheme to defraud Medicare. Rolando and Jose Nogueira admitted that they knew the patients at T&R did not need and/or did not receive the purported services, and that it would be necessary to pay kickbacks and bribes to the patients so that T&R could bill the Medicare program for the HIV infusion services that were not medically necessary and/or were not provided.
The defendants admitted that from approximately January 2003, through approximately July 2005, they and their co-defendants caused T&R to submit fraudulent claims to the Medicare program in the amount of approximately $13.7 million. Medicare paid approximately $4.1 million of these fraudulent claims.
Co-defendants Modesto and Victoria de la Vega pleaded guilty on July 23, 2010, and are scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 5, 2010. Co-defendant Gladis Badia is awaiting trial.
Today’s guilty pleas and 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 attorneys from the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, including Trial Attorneys N. Nathan Dimock, Joseph Beemsterboer, and former Trial Attorney Michael Padula. The cases were investigated by the FBI and HHS-OIG and were brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, supervised by the Criminal Division's Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida.
Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations in seven districts have obtained indictments of more than 810 individuals and organizations that collectively have billed the Medicare program for more than $1.85 billion. In addition, HHS's 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.