A south Florida man was sentenced today in federal court in Tampa, Florida, to serve 48 months in prison in connection with a $10.5 million Medicare fraud scheme involving physical and occupational therapy services.
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney A. Lee Bentley III for the Middle District of Florida, Acting Special Agent in Charge Ryan Lynch of the U.S. Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) region including all of Florida, and Special Agent in Charge Paul Wysopal of the FBI’s Tampa Field Office made the announcement.
Luis Alberto Garcia Perojo (Garcia), 43, previously pleaded guilty to an information charging him with conspiracy to commit health care fraud. In addition to his prison term, he was sentenced to serve three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $6,248,056 in restitution, jointly and severally with his co-conspirators.
According to documents filed in the case, Garcia conspired with others to execute a health care fraud scheme through Renew Therapy Center of Port St. Lucie LLC (Renew Therapy), a comprehensive outpatient rehabilitation facility that he helped operate. From November 2007 through August 2009, Renew Therapy submitted approximately $10,549,361 in fraudulent claims for reimbursement to Medicare for therapy services that were not legitimately prescribed and not legitimately provided to Medicare beneficiaries. As a result of those fraudulent claims, Medicare deposited approximately $6,248,056 into a Renew Therapy bank account. The fraud proceeds in that account were subsequently disbursed to various entities, including $1,847,222 to Ariguanabo Investment Group Inc. and IRE Diagnostic Center Inc. Garcia was President of Ariguanabo Investment Group and had authority over bank accounts for Ariguanabo Investment Group and IRE Diagnostic Center, both of which were shell companies. Garcia and others used this money from Renew Therapy for, among other purposes, paying kickbacks to obtain Medicare beneficiary identifying information that was used in Renew Therapy’s fraudulent reimbursement claims.
This case is being investigated by HHS-OIG and the FBI 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 Middle District of Florida. This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Christopher J. Hunter 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 more than 1,900 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $6 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.