Miami Still a Hotbed for Medicare Fraud – HIV Clinic Administrator Pleads Guilty for Role in a $14 Million Medicare Fraud Scheme

253396_iv_drip_-_intravenous_treatmen.jpgMIAMI, FL (September 9, 2008) – Dilcia Marinez, 57, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court to her role in defrauding the Medicare program and laundering the proceeds of the crimes in connection with a $14 million HIV infusion fraud scheme. Click here to read the indictment.
According to information in plea documents, the Benitezes referred HIV-positive Medicare beneficiaries to the clinic and directed McKenzie to teach doctors how to make it appear legitimate health services were being provided.
For the past couple of months, Miami Herald reporter Jay Weaver has written a number of articles detailing how South Florida remains a hotbed for Medicare fraud, including several articles about the Benitez brothers’ fraudulent HIV infusion schemes. To read those articles, click here.
moneylaundering.jpg.gifMarinez pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Marinez admitted that she was the president and director of G&S Medical Center Inc. (G&S), a Miami health care clinic. Marinez admitted that she entered into an agreement in approximately May 2003 with Carlos Benitez, Luis Benitez, Thomas McKenzie and others to operate G&S as an HIV infusion clinic. According to a report released almost one year ago, by the Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, health care providers in Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach submitted $2.5 billion in claims to Medicare on behalf of HIV/AIDS patients in 2005.
Marinez also admitted that between approximately June 2003 and December 2003, G&S submitted approximately $14 million in claims to the Medicare program for HIV infusion services that were never provided and services that were not medically necessary. According to information in the plea documents, Medicare paid approximately $9.6 million on the fraudulent claims. Additionally, Marinez admitted to assisting the Benitez brothers to launder approximately $4 million in proceeds from the fraudulent billing scheme by making checks out to sham marketing and management companies owned and controlled by the Benitezes.
In a related case, brothers Carlos, Luis and Jose Benitez as well as McKenzie were indicted on June 11, 2008, for their role in a $110 million HIV infusion and money laundering scheme. The indictment alleges that the Benitez brothers were the masterminds of a massive HIV infusion fraud operation throughout South Florida involving at least 11 clinics and that they laundered the proceeds of their crimes. Also, according to the indictment, Carlos and Luis Benitez were the true owners of G&S. All three Benitez brothers remain fugitives, while McKenzie is currently being detained pending an Oct. 14, 2008, trial.
For more info visit: http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls/PressReleases/080909-01.html