Miami Defendants Sentenced on Health Care Fraud

On August 31, 2007, defendants Maricel Li and Marta Perez, both residents of Miami, were sentenced by United States District Court Judge James I. Cohn in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
moneylaundering.jpg.gif Li was sentenced to twenty-four (24) months’ imprisonment, followed by three (3) years of supervised release. Li was also ordered to pay $556,519.85 in restitution. Perez was sentenced to five (5) months’ imprisonment, to be followed by two (2) years of supervised release.
Both defendants had previously pled guilty. Defendant Li had pled guilty to an Information charging her with conspiracy to 367942_paper_trail.jpg.gifcommit health care fraud violations and conspiracy to commit structuring violations. Defendant Perez had pled guilty to conspiracy to structure financial transactions.
According to court documents, in the one-year period between April 22, 2002 and April 30, 2003, Health Medical Services of South Florida, a durable medical equipment company located in Miami, Florida, submitted approximately $1.6 million in fraudulent claims to Medicare seeking reimbursement for the cost of durable medical equipment that was not provided, was not provided as claimed, or was not medically necessary.
Rita Cardoso and her husband Luis Delgado of Miamiactual were the owners of Health Medical. Cardoso and Delgado were also the owners and operators of several health care related businesses located in Miami-Dade County and were previously sentenced for defrauding the Medicare Program of more than $4 million dollars for fraudulent billings for durable medical equipment.
Conspiracy members fabricated or caused the fabrication of prescriptions stating that the patients were in medical need of specific durable medical equipment. However, these patients did not need this equipment. Instead, patients’ signatures were forged. Additionally, fraudulent prescriptions were purchased from patient brokers, who sold information on Medicare patients.
Medicare paid approximately $556,519.85 to Health Medical. The defendants then withdrew the money from the Health Medical accounts using checks in amounts under $10,000 in order to avoid bank reporting requirements and the filing of a currency transaction report (CTR) which might have alerted the authorities to illegal financial transactions.