Mother and Daughter Pharmacy Owners Charged with Health Care Fraud and Kickback Crimes
Miami, Florida – A South Florida federal grand jury has charged Mirosis Gonzalez, 58, and her daughter Berioska Sosa, 32, with paying kickbacks in exchange for referrals of Medicare beneficiaries to their pharmacy, then using the referrals to steal millions from Medicare.
Gonzalez and Sosa owned and operated Aviva Care Pharmacy (which did business under the name American Care Pharmacy) in Sunrise, Florida. Gonzalez, who lives in Palm Beach County, was the listed President and Registered Agent of Aviva Care Pharmacy. Sosa, who lives in Broward County, was the listed Manager.
According to the indictment, from August 2016 through May 2020, the defendants paid kickbacks and bribes to marketing and telemedicine companies in exchange for their referring Medicare beneficiaries, as well as doctors’ orders and prescriptions, to Aviva Care Pharmacy. It is alleged that the bribed companies sent, and Aviva accepted, orders for expensive durable medical equipment (DME) and prescriptions for pharmaceutical medication, without considering medical necessity or Medicare reimbursement eligibility. The defendants negotiated the kickback and bribe arrangements with the companies and created sham contracts meant to disguise the bribes as payments for marketing and other services, says the indictment.
According to the allegations, Gonzalez and Sosa submitted over $12 million in false claims to Medicare and Aviva Care Pharmacy received payments totaling more than $8.4 million.
The indictment charges Gonzalez and Sosa with conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud, health care fraud, conspiracy to pay health care kickbacks, and payment of kickbacks.
Juan Antonio Gonzalez, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Robert M. DeWitt, Acting Special Agent in Charge, FBI Miami, and Omar Perez Aybar, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services-Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) announced the charges.
FBI Miami and HHS-OIG Miami investigated the case. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Clark. Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicole Grosnoff is handling the asset forfeiture component of the case.
A complaint is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
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 22-cr-60193.