News and Press Releases

BROWARD MAN CHARGED WITH CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT HEALTH CARE FRAUD AND BRIBERY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 4, 2011

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, John V. Gillies, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, and Christopher B. Dennis, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), Office of Investigation, announced the arrest and indictment of Gilbert Sanabria, Jr., of Hollywood, Florida, on charges of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, conspiracy to commit bribery, and bribery, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1349, 371, and 201(b), respectively.

According to charges, defendant, Sanabria, Jr., operated and controlled South Florida Health Care Connection Inc., a Broward corporation that was in the business of, among other things, opening and purchasing corporations that purportedly provided medical services and equipment to Medicare beneficiaries; selling and/or brokering the sale of such corporations to others; and assisting corporations with Medicare enrollment paperwork. The indictment alleges that the defendant, through South Florida Health Care Connection sold and/or brokered the sale of medical clinics to others, who would in turn submit false claims to Medicare. In addition, the indictment alleges that the defendant provided money and items of value to an employee of Medicare contractor First Coast Service Options in exchange for expedited approvals for Medicare enrollment applications and other paperwork for the fraudulent clinics.

More specifically, the indictment alleges that from August 2005 through August 2007, the defendant sold and brokered the sale of clinics to Ihosvany Marquez, Michel De Jesus Huarte, Vicente Gonzalez, Miguel Rodriguez, and others. These clinics subsequently submitted approximately $27,991,634 in false claims to Medicare, of which Medicare paid approximately $9,536,298. The false claims were for durable medical equipment that was neither needed nor provided to Medicare beneficiaries and for medical services, including pain management services, varicose vein treatments, and physical therapy, which were also never provided to beneficiaries. The purchasers previously pled guilty to charges including conspiracy to commit health care fraud, health care fraud, money laundering, and aggravated identity theft and are currently serving sentences of 235 months’ imprisonment (Marquez), 144 months’ imprisonment (Huarte), 115 months’ imprisonment (Gonzalez), and 37 months’ imprisonment (Rodriguez). See United States v. Marquez, 09-21048-CR-Jordan; United States v. Huarte, et al., 09-20523-CR-Seitz; and United States v. Rodriguez, 10-20046-CR-Seitz.

The defendant also provided money and items of value, including a Dodge Magnum, to Stephanie Renee Gibbs, a former First Coast Service Options enrollment analyst, in exchange for her approval of the clinics’ Medicare enrollment, change of ownership, and reassignment of Medicare benefit applications on an expedited basis. Gibbs has been charged by information with conspiracy to receive bribes in Case Number 11-20457-CR-Graham. According to the charges, Gibbs would forgo verifying the truthfulness of the information included in the applications and documentation, and, when possible, she would forgo the mandatory site inspection requirement. Marquez, Huarte, Gonzalez, and others also directed Gibbs to improperly review and approve, on an expedited basis, Medicare paperwork for their fraudulent clinics, which included: Stirling Medical & Rehab Center Inc., San Diego Medical & Rehab Center Inc., Eulogia’s Diagnostic Medical Center, Inc., Stop Injury Medical Center, Inc., and Hallandale Medical Supply, Inc.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI and HHS-OIG. Mr. Ferrer also thanked First Coast Service Options for its cooperation in this matter, including referral to federal authorities. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam Schwartz.

An indictment or information is only an accusation and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Attachments:
Indictment

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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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