A patient recruiter of a Miami health care company pleaded guilty today for his participation in a $48 million home health Medicare fraud scheme.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer of the Southern District of Florida; Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Steinbach 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 made the announcement.
Emilio Amador, 46, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Federico A. Moreno to one count of conspiracy to receive health care kickbacks and two counts of receiving health care kickbacks. He faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison for each count when he is sentenced on Dec. 4, 2013.
According to court documents, Amador was a patient recruiter who worked for Caring Nurse Home Health Care Corp. (Caring Nurse), a Miami home health care agency that purported to provide home health and therapy services to Medicare beneficiaries.
According to court documents, from approximately January 2006 through approximately June 2011, Amador would recruit patients for Caring Nurse, and in doing so would solicit and receive kickbacks and bribes from the owners and operators of Caring Nurse in return for allowing Caring Nurse to bill the Medicare program on behalf of the patients Amador had recruited. These Medicare beneficiaries were billed for home health care and therapy services that were medically unnecessary and/or not provided.
According to court documents, Amador also pleaded guilty to his involvement with fraudulent billings for Nation’s Best Care Home Health, Corp. (Nation’s Best) as relevant conduct. Amador was the owner, operator and president of Nation’s Best. The billings for Nation’s Best were approximately $30 million.
In a related case, on Feb. 27, 2013, Rogelio Rodriguez and Raymond Aday, the owners and operators of Caring Nurse and Good Quality Home Health Care, Inc. (Good Quality), another fraudulent home health care agency, were sentenced to 108 and 51 months in prison, respectively. Their sentencings followed their December 2012 guilty pleas to one count each of conspiracy to commit health care fraud charged in an October 2013 indictment. From in or around January 2006 through in or around June 2011, Caring Nurse and Good Quality submitted approximately $48 million in claims for home health services that were not medically necessary and/or not provided. Medicare paid approximately $33 million for these fraudulent claims.
The case was investigated by the FBI and HHS-OIG and was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, under supervision of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant Chief Joseph S. Beemsterboer of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.
Since their inception in March 2007, Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations in nine locations have charged more than 1,500 defendants who collectively have falsely billed the Medicare program for more than $5 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.