LAWFUEL – R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Jonathan I. Solomon, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Miami Field Office, announced that a Fort Lauderdale jury today convicted defendant Fernando Ferrer Jr., of Naples, Florida, of all eight (8) counts of a Superseding Indictment, which charged him with one count of conspiring to defraud the United States, one count of computer fraud, one count of wrongful disclosure of individually identifiable health information, and five (5) counts of aggravated identity theft.
Sentencing has been scheduled for April 27, 2007, in Fort Lauderdale, before United States District Judge James Cohn. At sentencing, Ferrer Jr. faces a maximum statutory term of imprisonment of five (5) years on the conspiracy count; a maximum statutory term of imprisonment of five (5) years on the computer fraud count; a maximum statutory term of imprisonment of ten (10) years on the wrongful disclosure of individually identifiable health information count; and a maximum statutory term of imprisonment of two (2) years on each count of aggravated identity theft.
The case involved the theft and transfer of medicare patient information from the Cleveland Clinic in Weston, Florida. Defendant Ferrer Jr. purchased the patient information from co-defendant Isis Machado, a former Cleveland Clinic employee, who pled guilty on January 12, 2007 and testified against Ferrer at trial. The theft resulted in the submission of more than $7 million in fraudulent medicare claims, with approximately $2.5 million paid to providers and suppliers. According to the Justice Department, this is the first Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPPA”) violation case that has gone to trial in the United States.
Mr. Acosta commended the investigative efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Cleveland Clinic, as well as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and their contractors, EDS, Trust Solutions and First Coast Service Options. This case is being prosecuted by Senior Litigation Counsel Neil Karadbil.
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.