Miami Physician Sentenced to 108 Months in Prison for His Role in $30 Million Health Care Fraud Scheme
Monday, April 18, 2016
A Miami physician was sentenced today to 108 months in prison for his role in a Medicare fraud scheme that caused approximately $30 million in losses.
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer of the Southern District of Florida, Special Agent in Charge George L. Piro of the FBI’s Miami Division and Special Agent in Charge Shimon R. Richmond of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General’s (HHS-OIG) Miami Regional Office made the announcement.
Henry Lora, 51, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Federico A. Moreno of the Southern District of Florida, who also ordered Lora to pay $30,278,542 in restitution and to forfeit the same amount. Lora pleaded guilty in February 2016 to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, receive health care kickbacks and make false statements relating to health care matters.
According to admissions made as part of his plea agreement, Lora was the medical director of Merfi Corporation, a Miami-area clinic that employed physicians, physician assistants and other medical professionals. Lora admitted that in exchange for kickbacks and bribes, he and his co-conspirators wrote prescriptions for home health care and other services for Medicare beneficiaries that were not medically necessary or not provided. Lora and his co-conspirators also falsified patient records to make it appear as if the beneficiaries qualified for these services, he admitted.
Lora admitted that his and his co-conspirators’ actions caused multiple Miami-Dade home health care agencies and other providers to bill Medicare for services that were not medically necessary or not provided, and that Medicare made payments on these fraudulent claims.
In March 2014, Isabel Medina, the owner of Merfi, who was charged separately, was sentenced to nine years in prison for conspiracy to commit health care fraud.
The FBI and HHS-OIG investigated the case, which was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, under the supervision of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida. Fraud Section Trial Attorney A. Brendan Stewart prosecuted the case.
Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged over 2,300 defendants who collectively have billed the Medicare program for over $7 billion. In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.
To learn more about the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), go towww.stopmedicarefraud.gov.
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