Justice Department Files Antitrust Suit Lawsuit Challenging Anheuser-Busch InBev’s Proposed Acquisition of Grupo Modelo

Merger Would Result in U.S. Consumers Paying More for Beer, Less Innovation; Lawsuit Seeks to Maintain Competition in the Beer Industry Nationwide

WASHINGTON — The Department of Justice filed a civil antitrust lawsuit today challenging Anheuser-Busch InBev’s (ABI) proposed acquisition of total ownership and control of Grupo Modelo. The department said that the $20.1 billion transaction would substantially lessen competition in the market for beer in the United States as a whole and in 26 metropolitan areas across the United States, resulting in consumers paying more for beer and having fewer new products from which to choose.

Americans spent at least $80 billion on beer last year. According to the department, ABI’s Bud Light is the best selling beer in the United States and Modelo’s Corona Extra is the best-selling import. Because of the size of the beer market in the United States, even a small increase in the price of beer could result in billions of dollars of harm to American consumers, the department said.

The department’s lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, seeks to prevent the companies from merging and to preserve the existing head-to-head competition between the firms that the transaction would eliminate.

“The department is taking this action to stop a merger between major beer brewers because it would result in less competition and higher beer prices for American consumers,” said Bill Baer, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division.  “If ABI fully owned and controlled Modelo, ABI would be able to increase beer prices to American consumers. This lawsuit seeks to prevent ABI from eliminating Modelo as an important competitive force in the beer industry.”

ABI and Modelo–the largest and third largest beer firms, respectively–together control about 46 percent of annual sales in the United States. MillerCoors, the second largest beer firm, accounts for about 29 percent of nationwide sales. Beer is generally grouped into four distinct segments by industry participants–sub-premium, premium, premium plus and high-end. The sub-premium segment includes: Busch (owned by ABI); and Keystone (owned by MillerCoors). The premium segment includes: Bud Light; Coors Light; and MillerLite. The premium plus segment includes: Michelob (owned by ABI); and Modelo Especial (owned by Modelo). The high-end segment includes: imports such as Corona (owned by Modelo) and Heineken; and a variety of craft beers.

According to the department’s complaint, the U.S. beer market is already highly concentrated, and prices are increased by strategic interactions among the largest brewers, including ABI and MillerCoors. ABI generally acts as the price leader, implementing annual price increases in the sub-premium, premium and premium plus segments of the U.S. beer industry. MillerCoors and other brewers have typically joined the ABI price increases, while Modelo has not. By pricing aggressively, Modelo–through its importer, Crown Imports–puts pressure on ABI to maintain or lower prices, especially in certain parts of the country. As a result, Modelo has become a particularly important competitor in the U.S. market.

The complaint quotes internal company documents demonstrating both ABI’s determination to maintain its upward price leadership in the U.S. beer industry and Modelo’s present-day position as a significant competitive threat to ABI:


    • ABI has implemented a “conduct plan,” whereby ABI hopes to establish “the highest level of [price] followership” by its large rivals by being as “consistent,” “simple” and “transparent” as possible;



    • ABI believes that its conduct plan provides the highest possibility of “sustaining a price increase” and “ensuring competition does not believe they can take share through pricing”;



    • By contrast, Modelo’s pricing strategy in the United States is known as the “momentum plan” and aims to narrow the “price gap” between Modelo’s imports and domestic premium beers, such as ABI’s Bud Light, stealing market share from ABI by enticing consumers to “trade up” to Modelo beer; and



    • ABI executives acknowledge that Modelo has “put increasing pressure” on ABI competitively, and that Modelo’s strategy is at odds with ABI’s well-established practice of leading prices upward with the expectation that its competitors will follow.


The complaint also discusses ABI’s efforts to target Corona. ABI considered Corona to be a significant threat, and launched Bud Light Lime in 2008 to compete with Corona. ABI went as far as to mimic Corona’s distinctive clear bottle.  Ultimately, instead of trying to compete head-to-head with its own product, Bud Light Lime, ABI is thwarting competition by buying Modelo.

The department alleges that ABI’s acquisition of total ownership and control of Modelo would eliminate the existing competition between ABI and Modelo, further concentrating the beer industry, enhancing ABI’s market power and facilitating coordinated pricing between ABI and the remaining large players. Consumers would, as a result, see higher prices and less innovation.

The department’s complaint also alleges that ABI and Modelo efforts to remedy the anticompetitive aspects of their transaction are inadequate. The complaint states that ABI has agreed to sell Modelo’s existing 50 percent interest in Crown to its Crown joint venture partner, Constellation. ABI would also enter into an exclusive agreement to supply Constellation with Modelo beer to import into the United States, although ABI can terminate this supply agreement after 10 years and would retain the Modelo brands and its brewing and bottling facilities.

“The companies’ attempt to fix this anticompetitive deal through the sale of Modelo’s existing interest in Crown and a temporary supply agreement is not sufficient to prevent consumer harm from ABI’s acquisition of its competitor, Modelo,” said Baer.

The complaint states that the combined effect of the proposed acquisition of Modelo and the proposed fix is to eliminate from the marketplace a sophisticated brewing firm with a long history of success and replace it with an importer which will own no brands or brewing facilities and be totally dependent on ABI for its supply of Corona and other Modelo brands.  The documents in the case show that as Crown’s CEO wrote to his employees after the acquisition was announced: “our #1 competitor will now be our supplier…it is not currently or will not, going forward, be ‘business as usual.’” The department’s complaint said that not only will competition be harmed by the loss of Modelo as a competitor, but by removing an independent brewer–Modelo–from the market, strategically coordinated pricing will become easier in the future.

ABI is a Belgian corporation with its principal place of business in Leuven, Belgium.  In 2011, ABI had revenues of approximately $39 billion. ABI currently has a 43 percent voting interest and a 50.35 percent economic interest in Modelo. ABI has stated in its annual reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it does not have voting or other effective control of Modelo. Through the proposed acquisition, ABI would acquire control of, and the remaining economic interest in Modelo.

Modelo is a Mexican corporation with its principal place of business in Mexico City.  In 2011, Modelo had revenues of approximately $7 billion.

District Court Enters Permanent Injunction Against Ohio-Based Drug Manufacturer and Company’s Senior Executives

U.S. District Court Judge Lesley Wells entered a consent decree of permanent injunction against Ben Venue Laboratories Inc., a Bedford, Ohio-based drug manufacturer, the Justice Department announced today.  The permanent injunction was also entered against George P. Doyle, president and chief executive officer, Kimberly A. Kellermann, vice president of operations, and Douglas A. Rich, vice president of quality operations, for Ben Venue. The department, at the request of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), asked the court to enter the consent decree.

Ben Venue manufactures numerous generic sterile injectable drug products, including cancer medications.   As set forth in the complaint filed by the United States on January 22, FDA conducted an inspection of defendants’ facility from Nov. 7 to Dec. 2, 2011, and documented 10 deviations from current good manufacturing practices.   According to the complaint, the FDA found, among other things, that the company failed to create and follow appropriate procedures to prevent contamination of drugs which were purported to be sterile.   The FDA also found that the company failed to properly clean and maintain its equipment to ensure the safety and quality of the drugs it manufactured.   In addition, the FDA determined that the company failed to conduct adequate investigations of drugs that did not meet their specifications.


Compliance with current good manufacturing practices requirements assures that drugs meet the safety requirements of the law and have the identity and strength and meet the quality and purity characteristics that they purport to or are represented to possess.   FDA regulations, which establish minimum current good manufacturing practices applicable to human drugs, require manufacturers to control all aspects of the processes and procedures by which drugs are manufactured in order to prevent the production of unsafe and ineffective products.


According to the complaint, t he deviations observed by FDA during the November – December 2011 inspection were similar to deviations observed by FDA during its many previous inspections of Ben Venue’s facility.   During FDA’s May 2011 inspection, FDA documented 48   deviations from current good manufacturing practices including an inadequate quality control unit, inadequate and untimely investigations, inadequately designed aseptic processing areas, poor employee aseptic practices, failure to prevent microbial contamination of drug products purporting to be sterile and failure to determine the root cause for microbial contaminants.


As described in the complaint, FDA’s long inspection and regulatory history of Ben Venue, including 35 inspections since 1997, and approximately 40 recalls since February 2002 associated with drugs manufactured at the Ben Venue facility (including 10 recalls in 2011 and 10 recalls in 2012), reflects a continuing pattern of significant deviations from current good manufacturing practices with its drugs.  Some recalls involved drugs contaminated with glass and other particulates.   Additional recalls were based on the company’s inability to assure the drug’s sterility.   Of the roughly 40 recalls, nine were classified by FDA as “Class I,” meaning that FDA determined that there was “a reasonable probability that the use of . . . a violative product will cause serious adverse health consequences or death.”


The consent decree entered resolves the complaint by requiring Ben Venue to take a wide range of actions to correct its violations and ensure that they do not happen again.  The injunction establishes a series of steps which must occur before Ben Venue can fully resume operations, including the retention of an expert to inspect the company’s facility, the development and then implementation of a remediation plan, and an inspection by FDA to confirm that the company’s manufacturing processes are fully compliant with the law.


“This consent decree restricts Ben Venue from manufacturing and distributing certain drugs until the company fully complies with the law,” said Stuart F. Delery, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Division.  “As this case demonstrates, the Department of Justice and FDA will work together to protect the health and safety of Americans by making sure that those who produce and distribute prescription drugs follow the law.”

“This resolution comes following nearly three dozen inspections which revealed inadequate quality control, including contaminated drugs, and led to approximately 40 recalls on products from this facility alone,” said Steven M. Dettelbach, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio. “The Justice Department and the Food and Drug Administration will continue to place its highest priority on protecting consumers.”


Under the decree, Ben Venue may continue to manufacture and distribute a subset of their drugs (listed on Attachment A to the decree), which FDA has determined are currently in shortage (domestically or abroad) or are vulnerable to shortage.   However, prior to distribution of each batch of these drugs, the company’s expert must conduct a batch-by-batch review and certify that no deviations occurred during the manufacture of the drug that would adversely affect the safety or quality of the batch.


Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Delery thanked the FDA for referring this matter to the Department of Justice.  Jeffrey Steger, Assistant Director of the Consumer Protection Branch of the Justice Department and Michele Svonkin, Counsel at FDA’s Office of the Chief Counsel, brought this case on behalf of the United States.

Former Executive Convicted for Role in Price-Fixing Conspiracy Involving Coastal Freight Services Between the Continental United States and Puerto Rico

WASHINGTON – Following a two-week trial, a federal jury in Puerto Rico today convicted a former executive of a Florida-based coastal water freight transportation company for his participation in a conspiracy to fix rates and surcharges for water transportation of freight between the continental United States and Puerto Rico, the Department of Justice announced.


Frank Peake, the former president of Sea Star Line LLC, was found guilty today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico, of participating in a conspiracy to fix rates and surcharges for water transportation of freight between the continental United States and Puerto Rico from at least as early as late 2005, until at least April 2008.


“The coastal shipping price-fixing conspiracy affected the price of nearly every product that was shipped to and from Puerto Rico during the conspiracy,” said Bill Baer, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division. “This successful prosecution shows that the division will hold accountable high-level executives who perpetuate these crimes.”


Sea Star pleaded guilty on Dec. 20, 2011, and was sentenced by Judge Daniel R. Dominguez to pay a $14.2 million criminal fine for its role in the conspiracy from as early as May 2002, until at least April 2008.   Sea Star transports a variety of cargo shipments, such as heavy equipment, perishable food items, medicines and consumer goods, on scheduled ocean voyages between the continental United States and Puerto Rico.


According to evidence presented at trial, Sea Star, Peake and co-conspirators carried out the conspiracy by agreeing during meetings and communications to allocate customers of Puerto Rico freight services and to rig bids and fix the rates and surcharges to be charged to purchasers of water transportation of freight between the continental United States and Puerto Rico. The department said the conspirators also engaged in meetings for the purpose of monitoring and enforcing adherence to the agreed-upon rates and sold Puerto Rico freight services at collusive and noncompetitive rates.

Including today’s jury conviction, as a result of this ongoing investigation, three companies and six individuals have pleaded guilty or been convicted at trial. The five individuals and three companies that have been sentenced have been ordered to serve a total of more than 11 years in prison and to pay more than $46 million in criminal fines.

Peake was convicted of price fixing in violation of the Sherman Act, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $1 million fine for individuals. The maximum fine may be increased to twice the gain derived from the crime or twice the loss suffered by the victims of the crime, if either of those amounts is greater than the statutory maximum fine.


Today’s conviction arose from an ongoing federal antitrust investigation into price fixing, bid rigging and other anticompetitive conduct in the coastal water freight transportation industry, which is being conducted by the Antitrust Division’s National Criminal Enforcement Section; the Baltimore Resident Agency of the Department of Defense’s Office of the Inspector General, Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS); the Miami Field Office of the Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General; and the J acksonville Field Office of the FBI. Anyone with information concerning anticompetitive conduct in the coastal water freight transportation industry is urged to call the Antitrust Division’s National Criminal Enforcement Section at 202-307-6694, visit www.justice.gov/atr/contact/newcase.htm or contact DCIS’s Baltimore Resident Agency at 410-347-1620.

Guest Columnist Al Scott, CFE: Emerging Health Care Fraud: China tackles emerging health care fraud (Part 2 of 2)

In part 2 of 2 parts, Guest Columnist Al Scott, CFE, principal for NSD Bio Group LLC in Philadelphia, Pa., describes Chinese emerging enforcement approaches.

Jan-Feb ’13 Fraud Magazine Rx for Fraud column – Emerging Health Care Fraud in China (part 2 of 2)

In part 1 of 2 parts, Al described lesser-known but emerging health care frauds, including schemes involving fraudulent treatments, cures and devices, and crimes involving the manufacture, sale or distribution of unapproved FDA-regulated products.

Nov-Dec ’12 Fraud Magazine Rx for Fraud column – Emerging Health Care Fraud


The opinions expressed in this column aren’t necessarily those of GeyerGorey LLP.  Special thanks to Fraud Magazine for authorizing us to republish Al’s work— ed.


GeyerGorey LLP Establishes 24/7 Client Emergency Hotline

GeyerGorey LLP announced today that it had established a 24/7 Client Emergency Hotline that will always be answered “live” by a GeyerGorey attorney.  Current clients should expect to be provided with this telephone number in a separate, confidential communication.

Press Release


GeyerGorey LLP announces partnership with FormerFedsCompliance.Com

GeyerGorey LLP announces partnership with FormerFedsCompliance.Com

GeyerGorey LLP (GeyerGorey.Com) announced today that in development partnership with FormerFedsCompliance.Com, it is offering a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Self-Assessment Module to its clients.  The Assessment Module is free to use for any company that administers the software solution through its own legal department or through GeyerGorey LLP.

GeyerGorey LLP is offering the FCPA Assessment Module as the first market deliverable assessment module as part its beta test of a FormerFedsCompliance.Com full-service compliance assessment solution that is forecasted to be released to law firms that will be selected in late Summer 2013.

The FCPA Assessment Module (available today) and software that delivers it is free and it is designed to measure FCPA risk at all levels of an organization within moments of conducting the assessment.  The secure FCPA assessment module is cloud-based and can be accessed immediately from desktops or handheld devices by all employees in an organization.  Results are tagged with customized privacy controls.  Results are measured and extensive statistical analysis is automatically performed, gaps are identified and significant problems—known as “company busters”—are immediately brought to the attention of GeyerGorey LLP for immediate follow-up by its attorneys and alliance professionals around the world.  The notifications are configured to protect the disclosure under attorney-client privilege, but GeyerGorey LLP and/or inside corporate counsel can still inform management so that it can continue to make informed decisions based on the progress of the assessment and remediation efforts.   Assessment responses can be measured and gaps can be identified and supplemental training can be targeted to problem areas.   For a reasonable licensing fee, a follow-on assessment is then performed that captures and “locks-in” programmatic improvement.  Each subsequent assessment can be customized and refined to the needs of the organization and additional customized modules can be added as needed.

The FCPA Assessment Module was designed by former American Enforcers (A/K/A”FormerFeds”) to allow companies to immediately assess their FCPA vulnerabilities with the assistance of inside legal counsel or GeyerGorey LLP.

GeyerGorey LLP can be reached at (888) 486-FEDS

FormerFeds LLC is headquartered in Cinnaminson, NJ and can be reached at [email protected] or at (609) 291-0881.

FormerFeds LLC
Suite 303
141 i Route 130 South
Cinnaminson, NJ 08077

Financial Consultant Extradited to the United States for Alleged Scheme to Defraud the U.S. Export-import Ban

Manuel Ernesto Ortiz-Barraza, an independent financial consultant, was extradited to the United States today for his alleged role in a scheme to defraud the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) of over $2.5 million, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas Robert Pitman and Osvaldo L. Gratacos, Inspector General of the Ex-Im Bank.

Ortiz-Barraza, 56, was charged in an indictment unsealed on Oct. 19, 2011, in the Western District of Texas with one count of conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud, three counts of wire fraud and one count of bank fraud for his alleged role in a scheme with several others to defraud the Ex-Im Bank.  Based on a provisional arrest warrant, Mexican authorities arrested Ortiz-Barraza in Mexico on Feb. 13, 2012, and he has been awaiting extradition to the United States, a process which was recently finalized by the Mexican courts.

According to the U.S. indictment and court documents, Ortiz-Barraza and his co-conspirators allegedly conspired to obtain Ex-Im Bank guaranteed loans through banks by creating false loan applications, false financial statements and other documents purportedly for the purchase and export of U.S. goods into Mexico.  Ortiz-Barraza and his co-conspirators allegedly falsified shipping records to support their claims of doing legitimate business and did not ship the goods that were guaranteed by the Ex-Im Bank.  After the loan proceeds were received, Ortiz-Barraza and his co-conspirators allegedly split the loan proceeds among themselves.  As a result of the alleged fraud, the conspirators’ loans defaulted, causing the Ex-Im Bank to pay claims to lending banks on a loss of over $2.5 million.

The charges and allegations contained in the indictment are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The Ex-Im Bank is an independent federal agency that helps create and maintain U.S. jobs by filling gaps in private export financing.  The Ex-Im Bank provides a variety of financing mechanisms to help foreign buyers purchase U.S. goods and services.

The case is being prosecuted by Senior Litigation Counsel Patrick Donley and Trial Attorney William Bowne of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Spitzer of the Western District of Texas, El Paso Division.  The case was investigated by the Ex-Im Bank Office of Inspector General, Homeland Security Investigations in El Paso, under the leadership of Acting Special Agent in Charge Dennis Ulrich; Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation in Washington, D.C., under the leadership of Special Agent in Charge Rick A. Raven; and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in Washington, D.C., under the leadership of Inspector in Charge Daniel S. Cortez.  Substantial assistance was provided by the U.S. Marshals Service and the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs in Washington, D.C.  The Department of Justice is particularly grateful to the government of Mexico for their assistance in this matter.

Glenn Harrison, formerly of the Dallas Field Office, sounds off about office closure in his Blog

In honor of the Antitrust Division’s Dallas Field Office that will close next week, we provide a link to the blog of Glenn Harrison who, prior to the office’s closure, was a Trial Attorney assigned to that office.  Glenn recounts some of the Dallas Field Office’s notable accomplishments:   Glenn Harrison’s Blog

FormerFeds LLC selects GeyerGorey LLP to Beta Test Compliance system

FormerFeds LLC selects GeyerGoreyLLP to beta test Compliance system

WASHINGTON — FormerFeds LLC today announced chosen GeyerGorey LLP to beta test its revolutionary Compliance system designed and deployed by former American fraud enforcers (a/k/a “FormerFeds”).  The FormerFedsCompliance.Com compliance solution is the newest weapon in the legal community’s arsenal  that seeks to help the legal community provide a ‘redundant complex risk prevention array’ for clients that is affordable and provides automated and organized support for a company’s compliance operations overseen and administered by inside legal counsel or alliance law firms.

The FormerFeds LLC compliance assessment solution (FormerFedsCompliance.Com) is designed to be administered by inside legal counsel or outside law firms like GeyerGorey LLP to maximize attorney client privilege protections.
The FormerFedsCompliance.Com Compliance Assessment solution will provide:

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  • cost effective, low-risk, pay-as-you-go pricing

FormerFedsCompliance.Com has developed a ‘software as a service’ compliance assessment solution that our customers can ‘fire and forget’ system that melds compliance, transparency and corporate governance into one program solution.  With the legal assistance of GeyerGorey LLP, FormerFedsCompliance.Com is developing its compliance assessment system across disciplines so that there will be no wall between various specialties within a law firm—for instance, cartel enforcement and FCPA.

GeyerGorey LLP, with offices in Washington, New York, Boston and Philadelphia, provides international and inside-the-beltway experience to individuals and companies that have become — or wish to avoid becoming — the subject of federal law enforcement agency interest.

FormerFeds LLC is headquartered in Cinnaminson, NJ and can be reached at [email protected] or at (609) 291-0881.

FormerFeds LLC
Suite 303
141 i Route 130 South
Cinnaminson, NJ 08077

Four Sentenced to Prison in Florida Community Mental Health Center Case

The owners of three Miami-area assisted living facilities and an affiliated psychologist were sentenced to prison today in connection with a health care fraud scheme, involving now-defunct Miami-area health provider Health Care Solutions Network Inc. (HCSN), in which Medicare was billed for mental health treatments that were unnecessary or not provided.

The sentences were announced by Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer of the Southern District of Florida; Michael B. Steinbach, Acting Special Agent in Charge 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.

U.S. District Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga sentenced Serena Joslin, 32, of Looneyville, W.Va., to 63 months in prison, following her previous guilty plea to conspiracy to commit health care fraud.  Raymond Rivero, 55, Daniel Martinez, 46, and Ivon Perez, 50, all of Miami, were each sentenced to 28 months in prison.  All three had previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the anti-kickback statute.

According to court documents, HCSN operated community mental health centers both in Miami and North Carolina, including partial hospitalization programs (PHP) – a form of intensive treatment for severe mental illness.  HCSN obtained Medicare beneficiaries to attend HCSN for purported PHP treatment that was unnecessary and, in many instances, not provided.

In Miami, HCSN obtained beneficiaries by paying kickbacks to owners and operators of assisted living facilities (ALF) or by otherwise recruiting them from the facilities and from nursing homes.  Rivero, Martinez and Perez admitted during their guilty pleas to referring Medicare beneficiaries to HCSN in exchange for cash bribes.  Rivero, former owner of Miami-based God Is First ALF; Martinez, former owner of Homestead, Fla.-based Mi Renacer ALF; and Perez, former owner of Homestead-based Kayleen and Denis Care Corp., are no longer permitted to operate such facilities as a condition of their guilty pleas.

According to court documents, ALF residents referred to HCSN by Rivero, Martinez and Perez were not qualified to be placed in PHP and were only selected because they had Medicare or state of Florida Medicaid benefits.  In some cases, ALF patients suffered from dementia, Alzheimer’s disease or mental retardation, or were otherwise unable to benefit from mental health services.

According to court documents, Joslin, a licensed psychologist, was hired by HCSN in North Carolina in April of 2010 as a clinical coordinator and later promoted to clinical director. In those roles, she conspired with other HCSN employees to fabricate medical documents to substantiate alleged PHP treatment that was medically unnecessary and, in many instances, not even provided to the beneficiaries.  Joslin admitted that many of the HCSN patients were unqualified for the PHP program because they suffered from conditions such as mental retardation and dementia, and that she directed therapists to fabricate medical records to support HCSN’s fraudulent billing to the Medicare program.  Joslin was also required to surrender her North Carolina license to provide mental health treatment as part of her plea agreement.

According to court documents, from 2004 through 2011, HCSN billed Medicare and the Florida Medicaid program approximately $63 million for purported mental health services.

In addition to the prison terms, Judge Altonaga sentenced Joslin, Rivero, Martinez and Perez each to serve three years of supervised release, and ordered them to pay $4,464,728; $90,896; $76,358; and $89,245 in restitution, respectively.

The cases are being prosecuted by Special Trial Attorney William Parente and Trial Attorney Allan J. Medina of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.  The cases were investigated by the FBI and HHS-OIG and were brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, supervised by the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida.

Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged more than 1,480 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $4.8 billion.  In addition, HHS’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with HHS-OIG, is taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.