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May 30, 08

NEWS / THREE MIAMI AREA DOCTORS AND SIX OTHERS CHARGED IN $56 MILLION HEALTH CARE FRAUD SCHEMES


WASHINGTON – Three Miami area doctors and six others have been charged in four
separate indictments for their roles in HIV infusion fraud schemes totaling $56 million, the
Department of Justice Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of
Florida announced today.
One indictment alleges that between August 2002 and March 2004, Dr. Ronald Harris,
57, and Enrique Gonzalez, 62, conspired to submit approximately $24.5 million in false and
fraudulent claims to the Medicare program for HIV infusion services allegedly provided at
Physicians Med-Care and Physicians Health Med-Care, HIV infusion clinics that Harris and
Gonzalez allegedly controlled. Infusion clinics serve HIV patients by providing prescribed
medications intravenously. As part of the scheme, Gonzalez caused the payment of cash
kickbacks to Medicare beneficiaries in exchange for the patients signing documents stating that
they had received the treatments being billed to Medicare when such treatments were not
provided and not medically necessary. Harris worked as the doctor at Physicians Med-Care and
Physicians Health Med-Care and would order unnecessary tests, sign medical forms and
authorize treatments to make it appear that legitimate medical services were being provided to
Medicare beneficiaries, when in reality the services were not actually provided and were not
medically necessary. The indictment also alleges that Harris and Gonzalez laundered the
proceeds of their crimes by sending the proceeds to a purported medical company that was
actually owned and controlled by Harris, Gonzalez and their co-conspirators.
Harris and Gonzalez are charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United
States, to cause the submission of false claims to the Medicare program, and to pay health care
kickbacks; one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud; and one count of conspiracy to
launder the proceeds of their crimes. Harris was also charged with three counts of submitting
false claims to the Medicare program and two counts of money laundering. Gonzalez was
charged with three counts of money laundering and one count of making a false statement to
agents of the United States. In addition, the indictment seeks forfeiture of assets held by Harris
and Gonzalez. If convicted, Harris and Gonzalez each face a maximum sentence of 60 years in
prison.
A separate indictment alleges that between May 2003 and January 2004, Juan Carlos
Castaneda, 47, Dilcia Marinez, 56, and Luis Frias, 60, conspired to submit approximately $14
million in false and fraudulent claims to the Medicare program for HIV infusion services
allegedly provided at G&S Medical Center, an HIV infusion clinic operated by Castaneda,
Marinez and Frias. As part of the scheme, Castaneda, Marinez and Frias allegedly retained
physicians and physicians’ assistants to work at G&S Medical to make it appear that legitimate
HIV infusion services were being provided and hired a physician’s assistant to train the
physicians to make it appear that legitimate and appropriate medical services were being
provided. Castaneda, Marinez and Frias would pay kickbacks to Medicare beneficiaries in
exchange for the patients signing documents stating that they received the treatments being billed
to Medicare. Such treatments were not provided or medically necessary. The indictment also
alleges that Castaneda, Marinez and Frias laundered the proceeds of their crimes by sending the
funds to sham management and marketing companies owned and controlled by their coconspirators
and by sending proceeds to companies they owned and controlled themselves.
Furthermore, the indictment alleges that Castaneda and Marinez structured financial transactions
of less than $10,000 to avoid financial reporting requirements.
Castaneda, Marinez and Frias are charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the
United States, to cause the submission of false claims to the Medicare program, and to pay health
care kickbacks; one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud; and one count of
conspiracy to launder the proceeds of their crimes. In addition, Marinez was charged with five
counts of money laundering, Frias with three counts of money laundering and Castaneda with
two counts of money laundering. Castaneda and Marinez were also each charged with three
counts of structuring currency transactions for the purpose of evading reporting requirements. If
convicted, Castaneda faces a maximum of 90 years in prison, Marinez faces a maximum of 140
years in prison, and Frias faces a maximum of 85 years in prison.
In another indictment involving a similar scheme, Jose Garcia, 53, and Nayda Freire, 60,
allegedly conspired between April 2003 and November 2003 to submit approximately $10.9
million in false and fraudulent claims to the Medicare program for HIV infusion services
allegedly provided at Global Med-Care Corp., an HIV infusion clinic operated by Garcia and
Freire. As part of the scheme, Garcia, Freire and their co-conspirators also allegedly retained
physicians and physicians’ assistants at Global Med-Care to make it appear legitimate HIV
infusion services were being provided and to train the physicians to make it appear that
legitimate and appropriate medical services were being provided. They would then cause the
payment of cash kickbacks to beneficiaries who signed documents stating they had received the
non-existent and medically unnecessary treatments. The indictment also alleges that Garcia and
Freire laundered the proceeds of their crimes by sending proceeds to sham management and
marketing companies owned and controlled by their co-conspirators.
Garcia and Freire are charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States,
to cause the submission of false claims to the Medicare program, and to pay health care
kickbacks; one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud; one count of conspiracy to
launder the proceeds of their crimes; and four counts of money laundering. Garcia also was
charged with four counts of submitting false claims to the Medicare program. If convicted on all
charged counts, Garcia faces a maximum of 85 years in prison. Freire faces a maximum of 65
years in prison if convicted on all charges.
Another separate indictment alleges that between November 2002 and April 2004, Dr.
Carlos Contreras, 60, and Dr. Ramon Pichardo, 58, conspired to submit approximately $6.8
million in false and fraudulent claims to the Medicare program for HIV infusion services
allegedly provided at C.N.C. Medical Corp., an HIV infusion clinic at which Contreras and
Pichardo were both physicians. As part of the scheme, Contreras, Pichardo and their coconspirators
would cause unnecessary tests to be ordered, medical forms to be signed and
treatments to be authorized to make it appear that legitimate HIV infusion services were being
provided at C.N.C Medical. They would then cause the payment of cash kickbacks to Medicare
beneficiaries in exchange for the patients signing documents stating that they received the
treatments being billed to Medicare, when in reality such treatments were not provided and not
medically necessary. The indictment also alleges that Contreras and Pichardo laundered the
proceeds of their crimes by sending proceeds to sham management and marketing companies
owned and controlled by their co-conspirators and by sending proceeds to a company owned and
controlled by Pichardo.
Contreras and Pichardo are charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United
States, to cause the submission of false claims to the Medicare program, and to pay health care
kickbacks; one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud; one count of conspiracy to
launder the proceeds of their crimes; and three counts each of money laundering. Contreras was
also charged with three counts of submitting false claims to the Medicare program. If convicted
on all charged counts, Contreras faces a maximum of 70 years in prison. Pichardo faces a
maximum of 55 years in prison if convicted.
The cases are being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Hank Bond Walther, John K. Neal and
N. Nathan Dimock of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, and Laurel Loomis Rimon and
Constantine Lizas of the Criminal Division’s Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section.
Investigative assistance is being provided by the FBI and the Department of Health and Human
Services, Office of the Inspector General. The cases were brought as part of the Medicare Fraud
Strike Force that has been operating in Miami since March 2007. The Strike Force is led by
Deputy Chief Ogrosky of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section in Washington, D.C., and the
office of U.S. Attorney R. Alexander Acosta of the Southern District of Florida.

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