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Miami Jury Convicts Physician and Three Business Owners of Medicare Fraud
Date:3/7/2008

Seventh Trial Conviction for Medicare Strike Force

WASHINGTON, March 7 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A federal jury in Miami convicted a physician and the owners and operators of two durable medical equipment companies and a home health care agency of Medicare fraud, Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher of the Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney R. Alexander Acosta of the Southern District of Florida announced today.

After a five week trial in Miami, the jury found Maria T. Hernandez (Mayte), 50, Marta F. Jimenez, 67, Maivi Rodriguez, 34, and Ana Caos, M.D., 62, guilty on all charged counts, including; conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government, to cause the submission of false claims to Medicare, and to solicit and receive kickbacks; and conspiracy to commit health care fraud. Additionally, defendants Hernandez, Jimenez and Rodriguez were found guilty on six counts of receiving kickbacks in exchange for referring Medicare patients.

Sentencing has been scheduled for May 16, 2008. Hernandez faces a maximum of 35 years in prison, Rodriguez and Jimenez each face a maximum of 25 years in prison, and Caos faces a maximum of 15 years in prison.

At trial, the jury heard testimony from patients, controlled by Hernandez, Jimenez and Rodriguez through their companies, that they were falsely diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and prescribed unnecessary aerosol medications, including compounded medications delivered by Miami-area pharmacies. Compounding refers to the process of a pharmacist mixing the medication in the pharmacy, instead of purchasing it from a pharmaceutical manufacturer. Testimony revealed that one of the men making the medicine at the pharmacies, was unlicensed and had been trained as an auto mechanic.

As part of this scheme, Hernandez, Jimenez and Rodriguez controlled more than sixty Medicare patients. Between February 2001 and June 2003, Medicare was billed $487,783 by complicit pharmac
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SOURCE U.S. Department of Justice
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