News and Press Releases

Medicare Beneficiary Sentenced to Imprisonment for Accepting Kickbacks from Home Health Agency

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 30, 2013

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Ronald Verrochio, Inspector in Charge, U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), Miami Field Office, Michael B. Steinbach, 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), announced today the sentencing of defendant Rene Suarez-Basanta, 67, to imprisonment for receiving kickbacks from a home health agency.

Defendant Suarez-Basanta was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Ursula Ungaro to 12 months imprisonment, to be followed by three years of supervised release. Suarez-Basanta was also ordered to pay restitution to the Medicare trust fund in the amount of $16,740.57. Judge Ungaro cited the need to deter this behavior in the community as a factor in issuing the sentence.

The conviction of Suarez-Basanta 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. Defendant Suarez-Basanta and co-defendant Marta 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. Defendant Gonzalez was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment and three years of supervised release. Judge Ungaro had previously sentenced co-defendant Jorge Sell to 97 months imprisonment and three years of supervised release.

In total, nine defendants have been convicted of paying and receiving health care kickbacks in this investigation.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, FBI, and HHS-OIG. 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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