FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Patient Recruiter Sentenced to 77 Months in Prison in Connection with $9 Million Medicare Fraud Scam in Detroit
WASHINGTON - Miami resident Reynel Betancourt, 51, was sentenced today to 77 months in prison for his participation in a $9 million Medicare fraud scheme, announced the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services (HHS).
U.S. District Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga of the Southern District of Florida also sentenced Betancourt to three years of supervised release following his prison term and ordered him to pay approximately $6 million in restitution, jointly and severally with his co-defendants. Betancourt was originally charged by indictment in the Eastern District of Michigan and after his arrest in Miami, he consented to have his case transferred to the Southern District of Florida for his plea and sentencing.
Betancourt pleaded guilty on March 29, 2011, to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and to one count of money laundering conspiracy. According to the plea documents, beginning approximately in March 2006, Betancourt entered into an agreement with the owners of Dearborn Medical Rehabilitation Center (DMRC) to recruit patients for DMRC, a business that purported to provide infusion and injection therapy services to Medicare patients.
Betancourt admitted to paying patients to sign paperwork claiming that they had received injection therapy services and specialty medications that they did not receive. DMRC billed the Medicare program for more than $9 million in purported infusion therapy treatments, which Betancourt admitted were not medically necessary and not provided. Additionally, Betancourt admitted that he laundered the proceeds of the Medicare fraud conspiracy through two sham corporations that he created solely for the purpose of concealing the fraud proceeds.
The sentencing was announced by Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade for the Eastern District of Michigan; Special Agent in Charge Andrew G. Arena of the FBI's Detroit Field Office; and Special Agent in Charge Lamont Pugh III of the HHS Office of Inspector General's (HHS-OIG) Chicago Regional Office.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Philip A. Ross and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas W. Biemers of the Eastern District of Michigan and Trial Attorney Gejaa T. Gobena of the Criminal Division's Fraud Section. 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 Division's Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Michigan.
Since their inception in March 2007, Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations in nine locations have charged more than 1,000 defendants who collectively have falsely billed the Medicare program for more than $2.3 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.
To learn more about the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), go to: www.stopmedicarefraud.gov.