LawFuel – Legal Newswire – R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Jonathan I. Solomon, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Miami Field Office, Michael Fifthen, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Secret Service, Miami Filed Office, Christopher B. Dennis, Special Agent in Charge, Miami Regional Office, Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, and Robert Parker, Director, Miami-Dade Police Department, announced that defendant Alfredo F. Lopez was sentenced today by U.S. District Court Judge Federico A. Moreno to 120 months in prison for his role in orchestrating a multi million dollar health care fraud and money laundering scheme.
According to documents filed in the case and statements made in open court, from 2003 through 2006, Lopez owned and controlled various durable medical equipment (DME) companies in Miami, FL. These DME companies collectively submitted more than $16,500,000 in false claims to Medicare for services and equipment that were never provided. As well, Lopez used a series of straw owners to conceal his ownership of the DME companies.
Lopez, a former tow truck driver, learned how to commit health care fraud from a former customer, defendant Angel Castillo, Jr. In 2007, Castillo was sentenced to 19 years in prison for submitting more than $48 million in false claims to Medicare. Lopez used Castillo’s business model, banking and medical billing contacts to develop his own health care fraud scheme.
Through his scheme, Lopez received more than $3,300,000 from the Medicare program. After receiving these funds, Lopez laundered the money by using friends and other associates, including bank employees, to cash hundreds of checks. Lopez then spent the money on expensive vehicles, jewelry and to invest in other Miami-based medical enterprises.
In connection with the Lopez investigation, the U.S. Secret Service recovered more than $778,000 in cash, a 2007 Mercedes CL 550, a 2008 Cadillac Escalade, Rolex watches and other jewelry. The Court ordered these items forfeited to the United States along with Lopez’s residence located in Southwest Miami-Dade County.
Co-defendants, Joel Labrada, Rolando Coro Martinez and Julio R. Dominguez have all pled guilty to related health care fraud and money laundering offenses in the past months. Labrada was sentenced to 57 months in prison and Dominguez to 37 months in prison. Martinez is currently awaiting sentencing. Defendant Arenmy Obella Calana remains a fugitive.
The case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney William J. Parente Jr., and Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan Stumphauzer.
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 United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.