News and Press Releases

MIAMI WOMAN IS TENTH PERSON ARRESTED FOR HER ROLE IN LEADING $27 MILLION HEALTH CARE FRAUD CONSPIRACY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 10, 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 Investigations, announced today’s arrest of Elizabet Lombera, 39, of Miami Lakes, Florida. On August 4, 2011, a federal grand jury in Miami indicted Lombera with one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349, six counts of health care fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1347, and six counts of aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028A, Case No. 11-20528-Cr-Seitz.

If convicted, the defendant faces a possible maximum statutory sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment on the conspiracy and the health care fraud counts. In addition, each count of aggravated identity theft carries a two year mandatory minimum term of imprisonment to run consecutive to any other sentence.

According to the indictment, Lombera and her co-conspirators installed nominee presidents to hide her control of five durable medical equipment companies in Miami that submitted fraudulent claims to Medicare, including Mercy Medical Supply, Inc., JHH Group, Inc., La Numero 1 Farmacia Discount Corp., Yani’s Pharmacy, Inc., and El Perimetro Farmacia Discount Corp. Collectively, these five companies submitted approximately $27,383,328 in fraudulent claims to Medicare and received $12,438,952 in reimbursements. The indictment alleges that Lombera used the proceeds for personal gain, including paying for a trip to Japan.

Six of Lombera’s co-conspirators have already been sentenced for their roles in this conspiracy. Maykel Diaz Escalona, the nominee owner of Mercy Medical Supply, Inc., was sentenced to 37 months’ imprisonment in United States v. Maykel Diaz Escalona, Case No. 09-Cr-20084-Graham. Marcelino Avila, the nominee owner of JHH Group, was sentenced to 46 months’ imprisonment, in United States v. Marcelino Avila, Case No. 08-20730-Cr-Seitz. Douglas Reina, the nominee owner of Yani’s Pharmacy, was sentenced to 37 months’ imprisonment in United States v. Douglas Reina, Case No. 08-Cr-20330-Huck. Obel Martinez was sentenced to 36 months’ imprisonment for laundering approximately $620,000 of health care fraud proceeds in United States v. Obel Martinez, Case No. 10-Cr-20546-King. Emilio Bezanilla was sentenced to 30 months’ imprisonment for laundering approximately $195,000 in United States v. Emilio Bezanilla, Case No. 11-Cr-20096-Lenard. Finally, Edisnel Diaz Soler was sentenced to 27 months’ imprisonment for laundering approximately $580,000 of health care fraud proceeds in United States v. Edisnel Diaz Soler, Case No. 10-Cr-20876-Huck.

Four other individuals have been charged. Luis Fuentes, the nominee owner of El Perimetro, was charged in United States v. Luis Fuentes, Case No. 08-Cr-20199-Martinez, but remains a fugitive. Eliezer Lazo, Joel Martinez Hernandez, and Casimiro Martinez have been arrested and charged separately for their roles in laundering the proceeds of the health care fraud and are awaiting trial in United States v. Eliezer Lazo, Case No. 11-20447-Cr-Altonaga; United States v. Joel Martinez Hernandez, Case No. 11-20446-Cr-Moreno; and United States v. Casimiro Martinez, Case No. 11-Cr-20448-Jordan.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI and HHS-OIG. These case are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney H. Ron Davidson and Trial Attorney O. Benton Curtis of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.

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

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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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