Convicted Money Launderers Sentenced to Prison in Connection with Health Care Fraud Scheme
Two Florida men were sentenced today in the Middle District of Florida for their roles in a fraud scheme involving the submission of more than $10 million in fraudulent claims to Medicare for physical therapy.
Acting Assistant Attorney General David A. O’Neil of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Florida A. Lee Bentley III, Acting Special Agent in Charge Brian P. Martens of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General’s (HHS-OIG) Florida region, and Special Agent in Charge Paul Wysopal of the FBI’s Tampa Field Office made the announcement.
Rafael Roche, 43, and Alain Remy, 36, previously pleaded guilty to an indictment charging them with conspiracy to commit money laundering involving financial proceeds from a health care fraud scheme. Today, they were sentenced to serve 46 months and 37 months respectively in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release. In addition, they will be required to pay $1,847,222 in restitution, jointly and severally with co-conspirators.
According to documents filed in the case, Roche, Remy and others were part of a Medicare fraud conspiracy involving Renew Therapy Center of Port St. Lucie LLC (Renew Therapy), an outpatient rehabilitation facility. From November 2007 through August 2009, Renew Therapy submitted approximately $10,549,361 in fraudulent claims for reimbursement to Medicare for therapy services that were not legitimately prescribed by physicians and not provided to Medicare beneficiaries. As a result, Medicare deposited approximately $6,248,056 into a Renew Therapy bank account. The fraud proceeds in that account were subsequently disbursed to various individuals and entities, including a combined total of $1,847,222 to Ariguanabo Investment Group Inc. and IRE Diagnostic Center Inc., which are shell companies that Roche and Remy controlled, and was then moved to additional shell companies that Roche and Remy established and controlled.
This case was investigated by HHS-OIG and the FBI and was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, under the supervision of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida. This case was prosecuted by Trial Attorney Christopher J. Hunter of the Fraud Section.
Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged nearly 1,900 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $6 billion. In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.
To learn more about the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Team (HEAT), go to: www.stopmedicarefraud.gov .