Treatment Facility Worker Pleads Guilty to Obstruction of a Healthcare Fraud Investigation
An employee of a Coral Springs addiction treatment center pled guilty to his role in obstructing an ongoing healthcare fraud investigation in Federal Court today.
Benjamin G. Greenberg, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Robert F. Lasky, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office; Kelly R. Jackson, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI); Jimmy Patronis, Florida Chief Financial Officer; Michael J. Waters, Special Agent in Charge, Amtrak Office of Inspector General (Amtrak-OIG); Isabel Colon, Regional Director, United States Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (DOL-EBSA); and Dennis Russo, Director of Operations, National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), made the announcement.
Jeffrey Adedoyin Williams, 30, of North Lauderdale, pled guilty to one count of obstruction of a criminal health care investigation, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1518(a), in connection with his employment at Deerfield Medical Center (DMC). Williams is the fifth DMC employee to plead guilty.
According to court documents, Williams worked at DMC where he assisted with the collection of urine samples and provided administrative support at the facility. Although owned by a non-physician, DMC operated as a doctors’ group and provided medical services to various substance abuse treatment facilities located in Palm Beach and Broward Counties, including Reflections Treatment Center and New Life Treatment Center. At the direction of the center’s owner, Richard Botero, other employees would visit substance abuse treatment centers and prescribe controlled substances even though none of them were medically licensed to do so. Licensed and unlicensed medical staff also ordered unnecessary bodily fluid testing, conducted patient visits and conducted patient evaluations.
As part of its federal healthcare fraud investigation, on February 16, 2017, members of the FBI-led Greater Palm Beach Health Care Fraud Task Force, served a grand jury subpoena on DMC seeking DMC records, patient files, and other information. On February 22, 2017, Botero delivered documents and information to the FBI and was questioned, but did not provide complete information or all of the documents sought by the subpoena. The following morning, Williams drove Botero to the Miami International Airport where Botero purchased a plane ticket and fled to Colombia. Another DMC employee, Katherine Gonzalez, also fled from Miami to Colombia later that day.
While in Colombia, Botero and Gonzalez maintained contact with Williams, directing him to remove computers, documents, and other items from DMC’s offices to prevent and delay the FBI from obtaining the items. After learning that Botero and Gonzalez had fled, agents obtained a search warrant for DMC. Upon executing the warrant, agents found that the clinic had been cleared out. When questioned by the agents, Williams admitted that he had removed documents and equipment from DMC. Williams then took agents to the storage space where he had placed most of the items. During questioning, Williams neglected to inform the agents that he also had sold some of Gonzalez’s computer equipment that contained relevant information.
U.S. District Judge Robin L. Rosenberg accepted Williams’ guilty plea and set the matter for sentencing at 10:30 a.m. on April 17, 2018. Williams faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine.
Williams is the fifteenth defendant convicted in the federal investigation into fraud involving substance abuse treatment in the Southern District of Florida.
Mr. Greenberg commended the investigative efforts of the Task Force. Agencies of the task force include the FBI, IRS-CI, the Florida Division of Investigative and Forensic Services, Amtrak OIG, DOL-EBSA, and NICB. The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney A. Marie Villafaña.