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December 5, 11

NEWS / Detroit-Area Clinic Owner Sentenced to 78 Months in Prison for Role in $9.1 Million Medicare Fraud S


WASHINGTON Ė Joaquin Tasis was sentenced today to 78 months in prison for his role in a $9.1 million Detroit-area Medicare fraud scheme, announced the Department of Justice, the FBI and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).



Tasis was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Arthur Tarnow in the Eastern District of Michigan. In addition to his prison term, Tasis was sentenced to three years of supervised release and was ordered to pay $6 million in restitution, jointly and severally with his co-defendants.



Joaquin Tasis and co-defendants Martin Tasis and Leoncio Alayon were convicted by a jury in May 2011 after a five-day trial. Evidence presented at trial showed that the Tasis brothers and their co-conspirators helped relocate a highly lucrative infusion therapy fraud scheme to Michigan from South Florida after increased law enforcement scrutiny there, and that Alayon helped the conspirators launder proceeds from the scheme. Martin Tasis was sentenced in October 2011 to 10 years in prison and two years of supervised release for his role in the scheme.



According to evidence presented at trial, Martin and Joaquin Tasis were partners in a Detroit-area clinic called Dearborn Medical Rehabilitation Center (DMRC). Evidence at trial showed that Medicare beneficiaries were not referred to DMRC by their primary care physicians, or for any other legitimate medical purpose, but rather were recruited to come to the clinic through the payment of cash kickbacks. DMRC then billed Medicare for expensive and exotic medications, purportedly administered to treat HIV and Hepatitis-C. However, the medications were never administered.



Once Medicare started paying the co-conspirators, Martin Tasis enlisted Alayon, a family friend, to help him launder the proceeds of the fraud through a shell corporation in Florida called Infinity Research Corp. Evidence at trial showed that Infinity Research Corp. had no employees, did no research and was based at Alayonís residence. Alayon, after taking a commission for himself, distributed the laundered proceeds to Martin and Joaquin Tasis and their co-conspirators.



Between November 2005 and March 2007, DMRC billed approximately $9.1 million in claims to Medicare for injection therapy services that were never provided and/or were not medically necessary. Medicare paid approximately $6 million of those claims. Evidence at trial showed that DMRC purchased only $36,000 in medication and medical supplies.



Joaquin Tasis was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, one count of conspiracy to pay health care kickbacks and three counts of health care fraud.



Todayís sentence was announced by Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Departmentís Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan Barbara L. McQuade; Special Agent in Charge Andrew G. Arena of the FBIís Detroit Field Office; and Special Agent in Charge Lamont Pugh III of the HHS Office of Inspector Generalís (HHS-OIG) Chicago Regional Office.



The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorney Gejaa T. Gobena of the Criminal Divisionís Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan Philip A. Ross. The FBI and HHS-OIG conducted the investigation.



Since its inception in March 2007, Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations in nine locations have charged more than 1,140 individuals and organizations that collectively have billed the Medicare program for more than $2.9 billion. In addition, HHSís 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.

http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2011/December/11-crm-1573.html

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