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July 13, 11

NEWS / Patient Recruiter Sentenced to 27 Months in Prison in Connection with Detroit-Area Infusion Therapy

WASHINGTON Ė A patient recruiter for three Detroit-area clinics was sentenced to 27 months in prison for his role in fraud schemes that attempted to defraud the Medicare program of more than $15 million, the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services (HHS) announced.

Arnaldo Rosario, 30, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Gerald E. Rosen in the Eastern District of Michigan. In addition to the prison term, Rosario was sentenced to three years of supervised release and was ordered to pay, jointly and severally with other defendants in the case, $10,765,325 in restitution.

Rosario pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud on Aug. 18, 2009. According to court documents, Arnaldo Rosario admitted that he was responsible for overseeing and facilitating the payment of cash kickbacks to Medicare beneficiaries who visited Sacred Hope Medical Center Inc., Dearborn Medical Rehabilitation Center Inc. (DMRC) and Xpress Center Inc. (XPC). In exchange for the cash kickbacks, the beneficiaries would visit the clinics and sign documents falsely indicating that they had received services that were then billed to Medicare. According to information contained in his plea documents, Rosario admitted to obtaining cash on a daily basis from his co-conspirators to pay the beneficiaries cash kickbacks. After obtaining the cash, Rosario admitted that he would then distribute the money to several other co-defendants who were responsible for recruiting and paying the kickbacks to the beneficiaries. Arnaldo Rosario admitted to being directed to pay bonuses to the co-defendants if they were able to recruit additional Medicare beneficiaries to come to Sacred Hope, DMRC or XPC.

Rosario admitted that, between approximately March 2006 and March 2007, he and his co-conspirators caused the submission of approximately $15.3 million in false and fraudulent claims to Medicare for services supposedly provided at Sacred Hope, DMRC and Xpress Center. Based on the fraudulent claims, Medicare paid approximately $10,765,325.

Todayís sentence was announced by Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the 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 Assistant Chief Benjamin D. Singer and Trial Attorney Gejaa T. Gobena of the Criminal Divisionís Fraud Section, and Assistant U.S. Attorney John K. Neal of the Eastern District of Michigan. The case was investigated by the FBI and HHS-OIG, and was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, supervised by the Criminal Divisionís Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorneyís Office for the Eastern District of Michigan.

Since its inception in March 2007, Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations in nine districts have obtained indictments of 1,000 defendants that collectively have billed the Medicare program for more than $2.3 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.

To learn more about the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), go to: www.stopmedicarefraud.gov .


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AnnaMaria Realbuto
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