A federal jury in Miami late yesterday convicted the former medical director of, and three therapists employed by, a now-defunct health care provider of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and related charges for their roles in a scheme to fraudulently bill Medicare and Florida Medicaid more than $63 million.
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer of the Southern District of Florida, Special Agent in Charge George L. Piro of the FBI’s Miami Field Office and Special Agent in Charge Shimon Richmond of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services-Office of Inspector General’s (HHS-OIG) Miami Regional Office made the announcement.
Roger Rousseau, 73, of Miami; Doris Crabtree, 62, of Miami; Angela Salafia, 68, of Miami Beach, Florida; and Liliana Marks, 48, of Homestead, Florida, were found guilty of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. In addition, Rousseau was convicted of two counts of health care fraud. Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 6, 2015, before U.S. District Judge Robert N. Scola Jr. of the Southern District of Florida.
Rousseau was the former medical director of Health Care Solutions Network Inc. (HCSN), a now-defunct partial hospitalization program (PHP) that purported to provide intensive treatment for mental illness. Crabtree, Salafia and Marks were therapists who worked for HCSN.
According to the evidence presented at trial, from approximately 2004 through 2011, HCSN billed Medicare and Medicaid for mental health services that were not medically necessary or never provided, and that HCSN paid kickbacks to assisted living facility owners and operators in Miami who, in exchange, referred beneficiaries to HCSN.
The trial evidence showed that Rousseau routinely signed what he knew to be fabricated and altered medical records without reviewing the substance of the records and, in most instances, without ever meeting with the patients. The evidence at trial also demonstrated that Crabtree, Salafia and Marks fabricated medical records to support HCSN’s false and fraudulent claims for reimbursement for PHP services.
In total, HCSN submitted approximately $63.7 million in false and fraudulent claims to Medicare and Medicaid. Medicare and Medicaid paid approximately $28 million on those claims.
In November 2014, following a jury trial, co-defendants Blanca Ruiz and Alina Fonts were convicted of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, and Fonts also was convicted of health care fraud. In February 2015, both Ruiz and Fonts were sentenced to serve six years in prison.
The case was investigated by the FBI and HHS-OIG, and was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, under the supervision of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of Florida. The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Allan J. Medina, Lisa H. Miller and Bryan D. Fields of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.
Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged over 2,300 defendants who collectively have billed the Medicare program for over $7 billion. In addition, HHS’s Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.