LAWFUEL – US Law News, Law Jobs – R. Alexander Acosta, Uni…

LAWFUEL – US Law News, Law Jobs – R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Charlie Crist, Attorney General for the State of Florida, announced today a jury verdict in connection with a $1 million Medicaid fraud case involving AIDS/HIV medications.

A Miami jury today found Luis Jacinto Marti, a Miami physician, guilty of one (1) count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and Medicaid and fifteen (15) counts of health care fraud in relation to the fraudulent submission of Medicaid claims in 2000-01 for payment for expensive drugs used to treat AIDS and HIV patients. Marti faces up to five (5) years’ imprisonment on the conspiracy charge and ten (10) years’ imprisonment on each of the health care fraud charges when he is sentenced before U.S. District Judge Jose E. Martinez on March 9, 2007.

In November 2005, Marti and three co-defendants, Onelio S. Baez, Juan Carlos Mateo, and Jorge Arnaldo Valido were indicted for the conspiracy and billing fraud scheme by a Miami grand jury. Baez, Mateo, and Valido, also a Florida-licensed physician, pleaded guilty to the scheme before trial and face sentencing before Judge Martinez on February 16, 2007.

The evidence at trial showed that various, expensive blood-based immune globulins were fraudulently prescribed by Marti and dispensed at a local pharmacy. The evidence showed that there was no medical need for the medications. The pharmacy that dispensed the drugs billed the Florida Medicaid program for the cost of the medications, which were never delivered to the Medicaid patients and were instead fraudulently diverted for illegal resale.

Medicaid is a health insurance program, primarily for those with limited incomes, and is funded jointly by federal and state governments. In Florida, Medicaid is administered by the Agency for Health Care Administration. Fraud against the Florida Medicaid Program is frequently investigated by the Office of the Florida Attorney General, which generally prosecutes criminal cases in state court.

Mr. Acosta also noted that this prosecution was the product of cooperation between his office and the Office of the Florida Attorney General, Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, which designated two of its Assistant Attorney Generals, Stephen LeClair and Louis V. Martinez, to serve as Special Assistant United States Attorneys for the indictment and trial of this case. Mr. Acosta stated that he looks forward to continuing the cooperation between the two offices and hopes to have other Medicaid fraud cases charged criminally in federal court, where Federal Sentencing Guidelines often result in lengthier sentences for white-collar offenders than they would have received for the same conduct in State court.

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 http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov/ or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov/ .

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