Man pleads guilty to home health care fraud charges
WASHINGTON, D.C. (WDAM) - This is a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice.
A Miami man pleaded guilty to charges related to his role in a $4.2 million home health care fraud scheme.
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department's Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer of the Southern District of Florida, Special Agent in Charge George L. Piro of the FBI's Miami Field Office and Special Agent in Charge Shimon R. Richmond of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services-Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) Miami Regional Office made the announcement.
Ramon Collado Gonzalez, 56, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and make false statements in connection with a federal health care benefit program before U.S. District Judge Joan A. Lenard of the Southern District of Florida. Sentencing has been scheduled for Oct. 24, 2016.
As part of his guilty plea, Collado Gonzalez admitted that in approximately March 2014, he was recruited by Mildrey Gonzalez and Milka Alfaro, the owners of Golden Home Health Care Inc. (Golden), a home health care agency in Miami, to falsely and fraudulently represent himself to be Golden's owner. Collado Gonzalez further admitted that in return for hiding Mildrey Gonzalez's and Alfaro's ownership interests, he received a monthly payment and periodic bonuses from them, despite the fact that he did not do any actual work for Golden. Instead, he simply signed Medicare applications and other documents for the purpose of facilitating submission of claims to Medicare and concealing Mildrey Gonzalez's and Alfaro's ownership interests, he admitted.
According to admissions made as part of the defendant's plea, Golden received approximately $4.2 million from Medicare as a result of false and fraudulent claims submitted during the time Collado Gonzalez served as its nominee owner.
In June 2016, Mildrey Gonzalez and Alfaro were separately charged in an indictment with conspiracy to commit health care fraud, health care fraud, conspiracy to defraud the United States and pay health care kickbacks, conspiracy to commit money laundering and money laundering, among other charges.
An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The FBI and HHS-OIG investigated the case, which 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. Fraud Section Trial Attorneys L. Rush Atkinson and Lisa H. Miller are prosecuting the case.
Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged nearly 2,900 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $10 billion. In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.
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