LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – R. Alexander Acosta, United…

LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – 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 today that defendant, Raul Rodriguez, 34 of Miramar, was the eighth defendant to plead guilty in a $6,400,0000 health care fraud and money laundering scheme. Rodriguez pled guilty to four separate counts of an April 2007 Indictment that included charges of health care fraud, money laundering and a conspiracy to obstruct the investigations being conducted by the Miami Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and a Miami federal grand jury. Sentencing is scheduled for November 30, 2007 before United States District Court Judge Jose E. Martinez. Rodriguez faces a maximum statutory sentence of up to twenty (20) years of imprisonment and more than $12,800,000 in potential fines. In addition, Rodriguez agreed to a $5,700,000 money judgment and to forfeit a bank account, cash and a $100,000 Land Rover.

Earlier this month co-defendants, Armando Arias, Carlos Enrique Monteagudo, Alain Rhaf Vega, Marisol Gonzalez-Torres, Edith Balog, Yulen Arderi and Jannette Morales, pled guilty to related health care fraud and money laundering charges.

The defendants were charged in connection with a systematic effort to defraud the Medicare program through a series of durable medical equipment companies and HIV medical clinics that operated in Miami from 2004 through 2005. Rodriguez, Arias, Monteagudo, Vega, Gonzalez-Torres and Balog admitted participating in the underlying health care fraud conspiracy in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1349, 1347. Rodriguez and Arias and their co-conspirators submitted more than $12.5 million in false and fraudulent claims for medical equipment, expensive HIV treatments, and related medications. The group was operating an HIV clinic known as Coral Way Professional Health Services, Inc. and recruited and then paid the patients to attend the clinic. Rodriguez, Arias and Gonzalez-Torres admitted knowing that the patients were being injected with saline instead of prescribed drugs.

In furtherance of the fraud scheme, Rodriguez and Arias laundered a substantial portion of the fraud proceeds through a series of shell corporations the pair set up for the sole purpose of concealing the illicit monies In addition to Rodriguez and Arias, Monteagudo, Vega, Arderi and Morales pled guilty to money laundering and related conspiracy charges.

Rodriguez and Arias also pled guilty to a conspiracy charge involving the obstruction of investigations by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and a federal grand jury into the health care fraud and money laundering schemes. Rodriguez and Arias met with potential government witnesses and encouraged them to lie to agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and/or a federal grand jury beginning in September 2005 and continuing through March of this year.

Rodriguez, Arias, and Monteagudo agreed to forfeit real estate holdings, cash and vehicles acquired during the course of the conspiracy.

Two other men, Lazaro Jorge Ocejo and Ramon De Los Santos pled guilty to related health care fraud conspiracy and money laundering charges earlier this year. See, U.S. v. Jorge Lazaro Ocejo, 06-20625-CR-Cooke and U.S. v. Ramon De Los Santos, 06206-CR-Altonaga. United States District Court Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga sentenced De Los Santos to a prison term of twenty-one (21) months for his role in laundering Coral Way proceeds. Ocejo was sentenced to a prison term of thirty-seven (37) months by United States District Court Judge Marcia G. Cooke.

Mr. Acosta commended the investigative efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney William J. Parente Jr.

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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