Fraud conspirators in Florida sentenced to more than six years in prison
June 22, 2012
The U.S. Department of Justice announced that two owners of a Florida home health agency were sentenced to 73 and 74 months in prison, and ordered to pay $14 million in restitution. Ariel Rodriguez and Reynaldo Navarro, along with co-defendants Melissa Rodriguez and Ysel Salado, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit home healthcare fraud in a scheme that ultimately produced $20 million in false Medicare claims.
Melissa Rodriguez and Ysel Salado were sentenced to four years of probation for their parts in the scheme.
According to plea documents, Navarro and Ariel Rodriguez paid bribes to patient recruiters who provided them business, Serendipity Home Health, with patients, as well as prescriptions, plans of care and other medically unnecessary treatments for Medicare beneficiaries. These were used to fraudulently bill Medicare.
Meanwhile, Melissa Rodriguez and Salado cashed Serendipity's checks, knowing they would be used for bribes. The staff of the agency also falsified patient files to make them look like they were qualified for Medicare services.
Ultimately, Serendipity received $14 million of $20 million worth of false Medicare claims.
Since March of 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force charged more than 1,330 defendants across the U.S., whose alleged crimes were responsible for $4 billion worth of false claims.