Four medical workers
were convicted of fraud after filing $5.3 million in false
HIV-therapy claims to Medicare.
Rothman and Keith Russell and medical assistants Eda Marietta
Milanes and Jorge Luis Pacheco were found guilty on Tuesday,
according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Medicare paid two
Miami-Dade clinics, Medcore Group LLC and M&P Group of
South Florida Inc., $2.5 million for bogus HIV treatments. To
make the claims, the physicians manipulated blood samples,
prescribed obsolete drugs to patients, and falsified medical
Tony Marrero, an owner
of both clinics, testified that the clinics were set up mainly
to fraudulently garnish Medicare dollars. He also said that he
met with pharmaceutical wholesaler Lifecare Medical to buy
invoices showing the purchase of large amounts of medication,
when only small amounts were actually bought.
The scheme involved 20
patients who were paid up to $200 for each visit to the clinic.
Four patients said they took the cash but never received
medication from the clinics. One patient said he didn't
even have the virus, despite records showing he was being
infused with HIV medication.
assistant Luz Borrego testified that she falsified several
patients' blood samples so that lab results would support
the clinic's Medicare claims. However, Borrego said she did
not give patients the medications because she knew it would
It was also shown that
Rothman and Russell were involved in other HIV clinics across
Miami-Dade County, and had written prescriptions totaling at
least $60 million in fake treatments between 2004 and 2005.
All pleading guilty
prior to the trial were Borrego, Marrero, his wife, Belkis
Marrero, his brother-in-law, Orlando Pascual, Lifecare Medical
owner Harold Sio, and clinic employee Alberto R. Gonzalez.
Pacheco also reportedly
attempted to escape the country during trial proceedings.
According to the DOJ, he was caught on March 14 with $12,600 in
cash, a fake driver's license, and a contact sheet listing
several people in the Dominican Republic. He also cut off his
ankle monitor, violating the terms of his pretrial release.
Pacheco told authorities that he was "going
program relies on physicians to be the first line of defense
against fraud," Bernardo Rodriguez of the Department of
Health and Human Services said in a press release. "As in
this case, when doctors shirk that responsibility and steal
from Medicare, we have to prosecute them to the fullest extent
of the law."
Rothman faces up to 50
years in prison, while the other three may serve up
to 30 years behind bars. Sentencing is scheduled for