Miami Doctor Sentenced to Federal Prison for Committing $38 Million Health Care Fraud Scheme, Spending Proceeds on Beachfront Condos and Luxury Vehicles
Miami, Florida – Armando Valdes, 63, was sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Judge Kathleen M. Williams to 60 months in federal prison for directing a $38 million health care fraud scheme. Valdes was also ordered to forfeit four real estate properties, including a beachfront condominium unit in Pompano Beach, as well as numerous luxury vehicles, including a Cadillac Escalade and a Tesla Model S, all of which he had purchased using the ill-gotten proceeds of his fraud scheme.
From February 2015 through July 2021, Valdes owned and operated Gasiel Medical Services, Corp., a medical clinic in Miami, Florida. Through Gasiel Medical Services, Valdes submitted approximately $38 million in fraudulent claims to United Healthcare and Blue Cross Blue Shield for infusions of the prescription drug Infliximab. Infliximab, known by the brand name Remicade, is an expensive prescription immunosuppressive approved for the treatment of adult and pediatric Crohn’s disease, adult and pediatric ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and plaque psoriasis. Infliximab is one of the most expensive prescription drugs on the market—a single dose can have a retail price of nearly $10,000. Despite claiming approximately $38 million in reimbursements for infusions of Infliximab purportedly provided to patients of Gasiel Medical Services, Valdes admitted as part of his guilty plea earlier this year, that he never provided even a single infusion of the drug, nor did patients of the clinic require the medication.
Valdes attempted to conceal his involvement in this fraud scheme by distancing himself on paper from the medical clinic. For example, Valdes employed a 91-year-old physician at Gasiel Medical Services who rarely treated patients and never prescribed Infliximab, but who Valdes listed as the rendering provider for all $38 million of the fraudulently billed Infliximab infusions. Similarly, even though Valdes effectively owned and operated Gasiel Medical Services, he paid another individual to act as its “nominee owner.” This other individual, and not Valdes, was listed as the president and registered agent of the clinic in corporate records and other official documents.
Juan Antonio Gonzalez, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Robert M. DeWitt, Acting Special Agent in Charge, FBI, Miami Field Office announced the sentence.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael B. Homer prosecuted this case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Annika Miranda is handling asset forfeiture.
Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or at http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov, under case number 21-cr-20590.