“Straw” Owner Of Venice Physical Therapy Clinic Pleads Guilty To Conspiracy To Commit Health Care Fraud
Tampa, Florida - United States Attorney Robert E. O'Neill announces that Roberto Fernandez Gonzalez (63, Naples) pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to commit health care fraud. Gonzalez faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison.
According to the plea agreement, from January 16, 2008, through at least March 31, 2008, Gonzalez conspired with various individuals to execute a scheme to defraud Medicare. During the course of this conspiracy, Gonzalez functioned as the nominee (straw) owner of Rehab Dynamics, Inc. (“Rehab Dynamics”), a physical therapy clinic located in Venice, Florida. Gonzalez had no background in the health care industry, nor did he have money to buy Rehab Dynamics. Rather, the conspirators paid Gonzalez more than $20,000.00 to serve as the straw owner of Rehab Dynamics, as a sham.
During the three months that Gonzalez served as the nominee owner of Rehab Dynamics, the conspirators submitted approximately $1,633,512.21 in fraudulent claims for reimbursement to Medicare. Ultimately, Medicare paid $446,738.85 of those false claims.
This case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Simon Gaugush.