U.S. v. Maria Eugenia Rueda, Jorge Sell, Arminda Reyes, Rene Suarez-Basanta, Maria Esther Valdez, Manuela Edelia Rodriguez, Francisco A. Rizo, Cristobal Jorge Garcia, and Marta Gonzalez, Case No. 12-20749-CR-Ungaro – The indictment charges nine people with conspiring to pay and receive health care kickbacks. The indictment alleges that health care kickbacks were paid to patient recruiters who referred Medicare beneficiaries to Safe Home Health Care Agency, Inc.. Maria Eugenia Rueda, the president of Safe Home Health Care, and Jorge Sell, the office manager of the agency and a registered nurse, are charged with paying kickbacks to the other charged defendants. Additionally, various Medicare beneficiaries are charged for soliciting and receiving health care kickbacks from Safe Home Health Care. If convicted, the defendants face up to five years in prison for each count of the kickback charges. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Morales.
The Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations are part of the Health Care Fraud Prevention & Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), a joint initiative announced in May 2009 between the Department of Justice and HHS to focus their efforts to prevent and deter fraud and enforce current anti-fraud laws around the country. Since their inception in March 2007, strike force operations in nine locations have charged more than 1,480 defendants who collectively have falsely billed the Medicare program for more than $ 4.8 billion. In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.
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 www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.