News and Press Releases

Owner of Miami Home Health Company Sentenced to 37 Months in Prison for $60 Million Health Care Fraud Scheme

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 23, 2012

The owner of a Miami health care agency was sentenced today to 37 months in prison for his participation in a $60 million home health Medicare fraud scheme, announced U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer of the Southern District of Florida; Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; 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 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), Office of Investigations Miami office.

Rodolfo Nieto Jr., 40, of Miami, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga in the Southern District of Florida. In addition to his prison term, Nieto was sentenced to serve three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $1.1 million in restitution.

On Aug. 14, 2012, Nieto pleaded guilty in the Southern District of Florida to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and to receive health care kickbacks.

Nieto was the owner and operator of Ronat Home Health Care Inc. According to court documents, during the time of the conspiracy, Ronat was a Florida home health “staffing agency” that purported to provide home health care and physical therapy services to eligible Medicare beneficiaries. Ronat subsequently became a home health agency.

According to court documents, from approximately January 2006 to approximately November 2009, Nieto accepted kickbacks in return for recruiting Medicare beneficiaries to be placed at Nany Home Health Inc., a Miami home health agency that purported to provide home health care and physical therapy services to eligible Medicare beneficiaries. The owners and operators of Nany paid Nieto kickbacks in return for allowing Nany to bill the Medicare program on behalf of the patients Nieto had recruited through Ronat. Specifically, as part of the scheme, Nany billed Medicare for home health services purportedly provided by Ronat.

In a related case, on April 25, 2012, Roberto Gonzalez and Olga Gonzalez, president and vice president of Nany, and their son, Fabian Gonzalez, all of whom operated Nany, were sentenced to 120, 87 and 87 months in prison, respectively, following their Dec. 19, 2011, guilty pleas to one count each of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. From approximately January 2006 through November 2009, Roberto, Olga and Fabian Gonzalez and their co-conspirators submitted approximately $60 million in false and fraudulent claims to Medicare, and Medicare paid approximately $40 million on those claims.

This case is being prosecuted by Senior Trial Attorney Joseph S. Beemsterboer of the 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 1,480 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $4.8 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.

To learn more about the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), go to: www.stopmedicarefraud.gov.

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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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