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Miami Physician Sentenced to 84 Months in Prison for $26.2 Million Medicare Fraud
Date:11/4/2008

Clinic Administrator Sentenced to 70 Months for $11 million Medicare Fraud

WASHINGTON, Nov. 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Miami physician Ronald Harris, 58, was sentenced today to 84 months in prison and medical clinic administrator Mariela Rodriguez, 40, was sentenced today to 70 months in prison for defrauding the Medicare program in connection with large scale HIV infusion fraud schemes, Acting Assistant Attorney General Matthew Friedrich of the Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney R. Alexander Acosta of the Southern District of Florida announced.

For Harris's role in a $26.2 million scheme, Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida ordered that he be placed on three years of supervised release following his release from prison, and pay $9,882,274 in restitution to the Medicare Trust Fund, in addition to his prison sentence.

On Aug. 26, 2008, Harris pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, to cause the submission of false claims and to pay health care kickbacks; one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud; and three counts of submitting false claims to the Medicare program. Harris pleaded guilty in connection with his role as the medical director for Physicians Med-Care and Physicians Health Med-Care (Physicians Health), two Miami-area HIV clinics that purported to provide HIV infusion services to Medicare beneficiaries.

Harris admitted during his plea hearing that between August 2002 and March 2004, he conspired with others to operate two Miami HIV infusion clinics that were owned and controlled by Carlos and Luis Benitez and that were operated for the sole purpose of committing Medicare fraud. Prior to August 2002, Harris admitted he had no prior experience with infusion therapy for HIV patients. Harris also admitted to conspiring with others to pay cash kickbacks to the Medicare beneficiaries who attended Physicians Med-Care and Physicians He
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SOURCE U.S. Department of Justice
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