Two men from Miami have pleaded guilty to laundering millions of dollars obtained through a $10.5 million Medicare fraud scheme using shell companies they controlled.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Florida A. Lee Bentley III, Special Agent in Charge Paul Wysopal of the FBI’s Tampa Field Office, and Special Agent in Charge Christopher B. Dennis of the U.S. Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) region including all of Florida made the announcement.
Rafael Roche, 43, and Alain Remy, 35, pleaded guilty on Oct. 24, 2013, and Oct. 23, 2013, respectively, in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida to an indictment charging them with conspiracy to commit money laundering involving the proceeds of a health care fraud scheme. Remy is scheduled for sentencing on Jan. 16, 2014; Roche’s sentencing date has yet to be scheduled. They each face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.
According to documents filed in the case, Roche, Remy and others conspired to engage in financial and monetary transactions of health care fraud proceeds from Renew Therapy Center of Port St. Lucie LLC (Renew Therapy), a comprehensive outpatient rehabilitation facility. From November 2007 through August 2009, Renew Therapy submitted approximately $10,549,361 in fraudulent claims for reimbursement to Medicare for therapy services that were not legitimately prescribed and not legitimately provided to Medicare beneficiaries. As a result of those fraudulent claims, Medicare deposited approximately $6,248,056 into a Renew Therapy bank account. The fraud proceeds in that account were subsequently disbursed to various entities, including a combined total of $1,847,222 to Ariguanabo Investment Group Inc. and IRE Diagnostic Center Inc., shell companies that Roche and Remy controlled.
Court records indicate that more than $1.2 million was laundered through Ariguanabo Investment Group between Feb. 5, 2009, and Sep. 22, 2009. The money was subsequently removed from the Ariguanabo Investment Group bank account to various individuals and entities, including to Ibiza Future Planning Inc., a shell company that Remy established and controlled.
More than $600,000 was laundered through IRE Diagnostic Center from Aug. 7, 2008, and Jan. 29, 2009. The money was subsequently removed from the IRE Diagnostic Center bank account to various individuals and entities, including to A&R Medical Services of South Florida Inc., another shell company that Roche and Remy established and controlled.
This case is being investigated by the FBI and HHS-OIG and was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, under the supervision of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida. This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Christopher J. Hunter of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.
Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged more than 1,500 defendants who have collectively 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 Team (HEAT), go to: www.stopmedicarefraud.gov.