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Miami Doctor and Chemist Plead Guilty in HIV Infusion Fraud Scheme
Date:3/26/2009

WASHINGTON, March 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Two Miami-area residents pleaded guilty today in connection with a $10 million Medicare fraud scheme involving HIV infusion clinics, Acting Assistant Attorney General Rita M. Glavin of the Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney R. Alexander Acosta of the Southern District of Florida announced.

Dr. Carmen Del Cueto, 65, and Alexis Dagnesses, 44, each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud before U.S. District Judge Paul C. Huck. Both defendants admitted to working at Midway Medical Center Inc. (Midway), a Miami clinic that purported to specialize in the treatment of patients with HIV.

According to plea documents, Del Cueto was a co-owner of and practicing physician at Midway. Del Cueto and her co-conspirators billed Medicare routinely for services that were medically unnecessary and, in many instances, never provided. Del Cueto admitted to purchasing only a small fraction of the medication that was purportedly being administered to Midway's patients.

Most of the services allegedly provided to patients at Midway were billed to the Medicare program as treatments for a diagnosis of thrombocytopenia, a disorder involving a low count of platelets in the blood. According to court documents, none of Midway's patients actually had low blood platelet counts. To make it appear that the patients actually had low platelet levels, Del Cueto admitted that she and her co-conspirators used chemists, including Dagnesses, to manipulate the blood samples drawn from Midway's patients before the blood was sent to a laboratory for analysis. In her plea, Del Cueto admitted to ordering that patients at Midway receive medications to treat thrombocytopenia despite knowing that the laboratory results had been falsified and the patients did not actually have any such condition.

Midway was not the only clinic where Del Cueto purported
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SOURCE U.S. Department of Justice
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