LAWFUEL – Press Release Service – R. Alexander Acosta, Uni…

LAWFUEL – Press Release Service – R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Bernardo Rodriguez, Acting Special Agent in Charge, United States Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General – Office of Investigations, and Jonathan I. Solomon, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, announced today an Indictment in connection with a Medicare kickback scheme involving a Hialeah physical and occupational therapy clinic.

The Indictment, which was returned by the grand jury on May 15, 2006, charges defendant Sebastian Silvera and his father, Julio O. Silvera, with conspiracy to pay kickbacks involving a Federal health care program, and with paying kickbacks involving a Federal health care program. Both defendants were arrested by federal agents on May 24, 2006 and made their initial appearances in United States Magistrate Court in Miami. If convicted, the Silveras each face up to five (5) years’ imprisonment on the conspiracy charge and five (5) years’ imprisonment on each of the substantive counts of paying kickbacks. Sebastian and Julio Silvera were each indicted on six (6) counts of paying kickbacks.

According to the Indictment, the defendants offered and paid cash payments to health care providers as kickbacks to induce the providers to refer Medicare beneficiaries to St. Louis Rehabilitation Program, Inc., a company co-owned by Sebastian and Julio Silvera.

United States Attorney Acosta noted that the prosecution of the Silveras is the direct result of the a health care fraud initiative announced December 1, 2005. The initiative is part of a multi-agency effort to attack health care fraud schemes that affect government-funded health insurance programs, including Medicare and Medicaid, in South Florida.

Mr. Acosta further noted that in the first seven months of the current fiscal year, which began on October 1, 2005, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has brought 40 new criminal health care fraud cases, charging 62 defendants and involving allegations of at least $40 million in losses to government health insurance programs, primarily Medicare.

Mr. Acosta commended the investigative efforts of the United States Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General Office of Investigations and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. This case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Ted Radway, who is on detail from the H.H.S. Office of Inspector General as part of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s health care fraud initiative announced in December 2005.

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.

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