15 July – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Michael S. Clemens, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Linda S. Little, Special Agent in Charge, Office of Inspector General, United States Department of Health and Human Services, announced today that a federal grand jury returned an Indictment charging three (3) South Florida residents in a scheme to obstruct a health care fraud grand jury investigation.
Defendants, Lazaro Alberto Martinez, Virgilio Miranda, and Alfredo Hernandez Rivera, were charged in a three (3) count Indictment, returned by a Miami grand jury, charging conspiracy to obstruct justice and tamper with a witness, obstruction of justice and witness tampering. The Indictment also seeks the forfeiture of $70,000 that the defendants paid to a cooperating witness so that the witness would not testify in a pending investigation.
The Indictment alleges that after discovering there was an investigation into allegations of health care fraud relating to two (2) durable medical equipment (DME) companies located in Miami-Dade County, Aid Medical Equipment, Inc. and Progressive Services, Inc., Martinez, Miranda and Rivera told a potential federal witness to leave the Southern District of Florida. The three (3) defendants then paid the witness approximately $70,000 in order to persuade the witness not to attend proceedings related to the alleged health care fraud case before the United States District Court and the federal grand jury.
On June 2, 2005, United States District Court Judge Marcia G. Cooke granted the U.S. Attorney’s Office Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order in a related civil lawsuit styled, United States of America vs. Aid Medical Equipment, Inc., et al., No. 05-21461-Civ-Cooke. The restraining order froze approximately $3 million dollars paid by Medicare to those DME companies during April and May of this year.
Today, all three (3) defendants were arrested. The conspiracy count carries a maximum statutory sentence of five (5) years in prison. The witness tampering and obstruction counts each carry a maximum statutory sentence of ten (10) years’ imprisonment.
Mr. Acosta commended the investigative efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Office of Inspector General, United States Department of Health and Human Services. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Luis Perez.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.