Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer of the Southern District of Florida, Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Steinbach of the FBI’s Miami Field Office and Special Agent in Charge Christopher B. Dennis of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) Office of Investigations Miami Office made the announcement.
Emilio Amador, 46, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Federico A. Moreno in the Southern District of Florida. In addition to his prison term, Amador was sentenced to serve three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $24 million in restitution, jointly and severally with co-defendants.
In September 2013, Amador pleaded guilty before Judge Moreno to one count of conspiring to receive health care kickbacks and two counts of receiving health care kickbacks.
According to court documents, Amador was a patient recruiter who worked for Caring Nurse Home Health Care Corp., a Miami home health care agency that purported to provide home health and therapy services to Medicare beneficiaries.
From approximately January 2006 through June 2011, Amador would recruit patients for Caring Nurse, and in doing so would solicit and receive kickbacks and bribes from the owners and operators of Caring Nurse in return for allowing Caring Nurse to bill the Medicare program on behalf of the patients Amador had recruited. These Medicare beneficiaries were billed for home health care and therapy services that were medically unnecessary and/or not provided.
According to court documents, Amador also pleaded guilty to his involvement with fraudulent billings for Nation’s Best Care Home Health Corp. as relevant conduct. Amador was the owner, operator and president of Nation’s Best. The fraudulent billings for Nation’s Best totaled approximately $30 million.
In a related case, on Feb. 27, 2013, Rogelio Rodriguez, 44, and Raymond Aday, 49, the owners and operators of Caring Nurse and Good Quality, were sentenced to serve 108 and 51 months in prison, respectively. The sentencings followed their December 2012 guilty pleas to one count each of conspiracy to commit health care fraud charged in an October 2012 indictment, which alleged that from approximately January 2006 through June 2011, Caring Nurse and Good Quality submitted approximately $48 million in claims for home health services that were not medically necessary and/or not provided. Medicare paid approximately $33 million for those fraudulent claims.
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 for the Southern District of Florida. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant Chief Joseph S. Beemsterboer of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.
Since their inception in March 2007, Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations in nine locations have charged more than 1,700 defendants who collectively have falsely billed the Medicare program for more than $5.5 billion. In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.