Corporate Compliance

Miami physician and clinic administrator sentenced for roles in Medicare fraud scheme

Compliance Monitor, November 12, 2008

Two individuals involved in multi-million dollar AIDS/HIV infusion schemes in Miami were sentenced on November 4, according to a Department of Justice (DOJ) press release.
 
Ronald Harris, a Miami physician, was sentenced to seven years in prison and ordered to pay $9.8 million to the Medicare Trust Fund for his involvement in a $26.2 million dollar scheme. The judge also ordered Harris to undergo three years of supervision following his prison term.
 
In another hearing, Mariela Rodriguez, a medical clinic administrator, was sentenced to six years in prison and ordered to pay $8.3 million in restitution for her role in a separate scheme. She also faces three years of supervision following her release.
 
According to the press release, Harris and Rodriguez admitted to conspiring to paying cash kickbacks to Medicare beneficiaries in order to induce visits to their respective clinics for unnecessary HIV infusion treatments. Rodriguez admitted the sole purpose of the clinic she managed, Saint Jude Rehab Center, was to commit Medicare fraud.
 
During his plea hearing, Harris admitted he approved fraudulent medical bills, signed documents containing false information about treatments provided to HIV patients, and approved medically unnecessary treatments while working as the medical director for Physicians Med-Care and Physicians Health Med-Care.
 
Harris and Rodriguez worked for clinics owned by Carlos and Luis Benitez. The Benitez brothers, who remain fugitives, are charged with healthcare fraud and money laundering connected to an alleged HIV infusion scheme worth $119 million.
 
To read the DOJ press release, click here

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