Psychologist Convicted of Health Care Fraud Scheme
A federal jury convicted a licensed Illinois psychologist of defrauding Medicare over the course of several years by causing the submission of fraudulent claims for psychotherapy services he never provided.
According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Renato F. Duarte, aka Ren Duarte, 63, of Chicago, caused the submission of fraudulent Medicare claims from July 2016 through June 2019 for psychotherapy services purportedly provided to nursing home patients in Chicago and surrounding areas. Duarte’s scheme included fraudulently billing for in person services on dates that Duarte was traveling outside of the country and fraudulently billing for psychotherapy purportedly provided to patients who were deceased.
Duarte was convicted of four counts of health care fraud. He is scheduled to be sentenced on April 18, 2023, and faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison on each count. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney John R. Lausch, Jr. for the Northern District of Illinois; Acting Special Agent in Charge Ashley T. Johnson of the FBI Chicago Field Office; and Special Agent in Charge Mario M. Pinto of the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General (HHS-OIG) Chicago Regional Office made the announcement.
The FBI and HHS-OIG investigated the case, which was brought as part of the Chicago Strike Force, supervised by the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois.
Trial Attorneys Steven Scott and Thomas D. Campbell of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section are prosecuting the case.
The Fraud Section leads the Criminal Division’s efforts to combat health care fraud through the Health Care Fraud Strike Force Program. Since March 2007, this program, comprised of 15 strike forces operating in 24 federal districts, has charged more than 4,200 defendants who collectively have billed the Medicare program for more than $19 billion. In addition, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services, are taking steps to hold providers accountable for their involvement in health care fraud schemes. More information can be found at https://www.justice.gov/criminal-fraud/health-care-fraud-unit.