News and Press Releases

Two Medicare Beneficiaries Found Guilty Of Soliciting Kickbacks In Home Health Care Case

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 15, 2013

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Michael B. Steinbach, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, Antonio J. Gomez, Postal Inspector In Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and Christopher B. Dennis, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), inform that a federal jury found Defendants Rene Suarez-Basanta, 67 years of age, and Marta Gonzalez, also 67 years of age, guilty of charges related to Medicare fraud.

The conviction of the defendants stemmed from the investigation of Safe Home Health Care, Inc., a home health agency in Miami that was offering and paying kickbacks to obtain beneficiaries to serve as patients for home health services, mostly physical therapy. Conspirators at the agency used the beneficiary information to bill Medicare. Defendants Suarez-Basanta and Gonzalez were convicted of conspiring to pay and receive kickbacks. Defendant Gonzalez was also convicted of two additional counts for soliciting and accepting kickbacks in exchange for serving as a patient of Safe Home Health Care, Inc. and having her parents serve as patients of Safe Home. In addition to be patients recruiters, Suarez-Basanta and Gonzalez are Medicare beneficiaries.

In total, nine defendants have been convicted of paying and receiving health care kickbacks in this investigation. Defendants Suarez-Basanta and Gonzalez are scheduled to be sentenced on May 25, 2013, at 10:00 a.m., before United States District Judge Ursula Ungaro, in Miami.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Morales.

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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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