Miami Vice Fraudster Pleads Guilty to $20 Million Home Health Scheme
The owners and operators of several Miami home health care agencies—including a former Miami Vice actor—pleaded guilty on Sept. 5 in connection with a health care fraud scheme involving Trust Care Health Services Inc., a now-defunct home health care company.
Roberto Marrero, Sandra Fernandez Viera, and Enrique Rodriguez all pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Edwin Torres in the Southern District of Florida to conspiracy to commit health care fraud and conspiracy to receive and pay health care kickbacks, the Department of Justice announced.
Marrero, who appeared in an episode of Miami Vice playing a drug dealer, owned and operated Miami home health care agency Trust Care along with his wife, Fernandez Viera. The agency supposedly provided home health and physical therapy services to Medicare beneficiaries. Rodriguez was employed by Trust Care as a patient recruiter.
The two owners operated the home health agency so that they could bill Medicare for expensive physical therapy and home health services, among other things, that were not medically necessary or were never provided, court documents allege.
Between March 2007 and October 2010, Trust Care submitted more than $20 million in claims for home health services, says the Justice Department, and was reimbursed by Medicare for more than $15 million of these fraudulent claims.
Rodriguez, Merrero, and Fernandez Viera also acknowledged their involvement in similar fraud schemes at several other health care agencies in Miami, with estimated total losses of approximately $50 million. The other agencies include Global Nursing Home Health INc., Lovable Home Health Services Corp., and New Concepts in Health Inc.
The three defendants have a scheduled Nov. 12, 2013 sentencing. They face up to 10 years in prison for conspiracy to commit health care fraud, and up to fie years in prison for conspiracy to receive and pay health care kickbacks.
The FBI and the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Inspector General investigated the case.
Written by Alyssa Gerace