WASHINGTON – The owner of a Miami-area assisted living facility was sentenced today to serve 30 months in prison for his role in a kickback scheme that funneled patients to a fraudulent mental health provider, American Therapeutic Corporation (ATC), the Department of Justice, the FBI and the Department of Health and Human Services announced today.
Bobby Ramnarine, 36, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks in the Southern District of Florida. In addition to his prison term, Ramnarine was sentenced to serve two years of supervised release and was ordered to pay $165,881 in restitution, jointly and severally with co-defendants. Ramnarine pleaded guilty on May 22, 2012, to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud.
Ramnarine was the owner of an assisted living facility called Elmina Inc., located in Lauderhill, Fla. According to court documents, Ramnarine agreed to send Elmina residents to ATC in exchange for illegal health care kickbacks. ATC purported to operate partial hospitalization programs (PHPs), a form of intensive treatment for severe mental illness, in seven different locations throughout South Florida and Orlando, Fla. According to court documents, Ramnarine admitted that he knew ATC falsely billed Medicare for PHP treatment based on his fraudulent referrals. Ramnarine also admitted he referred his residents to ATC because he would receive a cash kickback and because his residents had Medicare and were willing to go to ATC. According to the plea agreement, Ramnarine’s participation in the fraud resulted in more than $445,025 in fraudulent billing to the Medicare program.
ATC, its management company, Medlink Professional Management Group Inc., and various owners, managers, doctors, therapists, patient brokers and marketers of ATC, were charged with various health care fraud, kickback, money laundering and other offenses in two indictments unsealed on Feb. 15, 2011. ATC, Medlink and more than 20 of the individual defendants charged in these cases have pleaded guilty or have been convicted at trial.
The sentencing was announced today by Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer of the Southern District of Florida; Michael B. Steinbach, Acting Special Agent-in-Charge of the FBI’s Miami Field Office; and Special Agent-in-Charge Christopher B. Dennis of the HHS Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), Office of Investigations Miami Office.
The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Allan J. Medina, Steven Kim and William Parente of the Justice Department Criminal Division’s Fraud Section. The case was investigated by the FBI and HHS-OIG and was 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, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged more than 1,330 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $4 billion. In addition, HHS’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with HHS-OIG, is taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.