News and Press Releases

THREE DEFENDANTS ARRESTED IN COUNTERFEIT MEDICARE CHECK SCHEME

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 22, 2010

Jeffrey H. Sloman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, John V. Gillies, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Miami Field Office, and Christopher B. Dennis, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, announced the arrests of Daisy Alonso, 36, formerly of Naples, Florida, and her brother, Ovidio Alonso Sanchez, 37, of Naples, Florida, for exchanging counterfeit Medicare checks, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 473; and the arrest of Azdrubal Martinez, 71, for money laundering, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1957.

The defendants were charged in three separate cases. Daisy Alonso was charged with four counts and Ovidio Alonso Sanchez with seven counts of exchanging counterfeit Medicare checks. Each counterfeit check count carries a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. Defendant Martinez is charged with two counts of money laundering. If convicted, he faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years on each count. All defendants have made their initial appearances in federal court. Previously, defendants Ovidio Alonso Sanchez and Azdrubal Martinez were released on bonds. Today, Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen T. Brown ordered Daisy Alonso detained pending trial.

According to statements made during today’s pre-trial detention hearing, Daisy Alonso established a corporation called “West Hialeah Phay, Inc.” and opened two separate bank accounts for this company. Although West Hialeah Phay, Inc. had no dealings with Medicare, approximately $191,198 in Medicare checks was deposited into the two West Hialeah Phay, Inc. accounts. After the checks cleared, thousands of dollars were withdrawn from the accounts.

According to statements made in court, the Medicare checks deposited into Alonso’s West Hialeah Phay, Inc. accounts were fraudulent Medicare checks, with dates and amounts matching checks actually issued to West Hialeah Pharmacy, Inc., another clinic not associated with Alonso that billed Medicare.

Ovidio Alonso Sanchez was charged separately with receiving $327,697 in counterfeit Medicare checks in connection with a company called West Hialeah Pha., Inc. Finally, Azdrubal Martinez was charged with money laundering for negotiating a $13,500 check from West Hialeah Pha., Inc., and a $15,500 check from Daisy Alonso’s company.

An indictment is only an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

Mr. Sloman commended the investigative efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney H. Ron Davidson.

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A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

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