News and Press Releases

Two Miami Women Sentenced to Ten Years in Prison for Conspiring to Pay Healthcare Kickbacks

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 23, 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, and Christopher B. Dennis, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (HHS OIG), Miami Regional Office, announce that U.S. District Judge Federico A. Moreno sentenced Yiral Cardona, 39, of Miami, and Susan Chi, 42, of Miami, to ten years in prison stemming from their leadership role in a conspiracy to pay healthcare kickbacks.

At trial, Cardona and Chi were convicted on October 22, 2013 of one count of conspiracy to pay healthcare kickbacks and to defraud the United States, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371, and three counts of unlawful payment of healthcare kickbacks, in violation of Title 42, United States Code, Section 1320a-7b(b)(2)(A).

According to the evidence presented at trial and the sentencing hearing, Cardona and Chi owned Vista Home Health Services, Inc. (“Vista”), a Miami-Dade based home health agency that purportedly provided skilled nursing and home health services to Medicare beneficiaries. The defendants illegally obtained Medicare patients by paying bribes and kickbacks of at least $141,000 to patient recruiters to induce the referral of Medicare patients to Vista for home health services. Cardona and Chi billed the Medicare program for home health services that were not medically necessary and/or not provided. Between approximately May 15, 2009 and April 26, 2012, Medicare paid Vista more than $4.1 million in claims. The Court ordered the defendants to pay more than $733,000 in restitution.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI and HHS-OIG. This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kevin J. Larsen and 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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