Miami man gets prison for health care fraud

The owner and operator of several Miami health care agencies was sentenced today to serve 120 months in prison for his role in a health care fraud scheme involving defunct home health care company Trust Care Health Services Inc.

Roberto Marrero, 60, of Miami, in September 2013, Marrero pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud and conspiracy to receive and pay health care kickbacks.

Marrero was an owner and operator of Trust Care, a Miami home health care agency that purported to provide home health and physical therapy services to Medicare beneficiaries.

Co-conspirators Sandra Fernandez Viera, 49, Patricia Morcate, 34, and Enrique Rodriguez, 59, all of Miami, have also pleaded guilty to related charges, including conspiracy to commit health care fraud and conspiracy to receive and pay health care kickbacks. On Nov. 13, 2013, Fernandez Viera was sentenced to serve 120 months in prison; Morcate was sentenced to serve 60 months; and Rodriguez was sentenced to serve 57 months.

Together with Marrero, Fernandez Viera was an owner and operator of Trust Care. Morcate worked at and was an investor in Trust Care. Rodriguez served as a patient recruiter on behalf of Trust Care.

According to court documents, Marrero and his co-conspirators operated Trust Care for the purpose of billing the Medicare Program for, among other things, expensive physical therapy and home health care services that were not medically necessary and/or were not provided.

Marrero primarily controlled Trust Care and, in light of that role, oversaw the schemes operating out of the company. Marrero was also responsible for negotiating and paying kickbacks and bribes, interacting with patient recruiters, and coordinating and overseeing the submission of fraudulent claims to the Medicare program.

Marrero and his co-conspirators paid kickbacks and bribes to patient recruiters in return for the recruiters providing patients to Trust Care for home health and therapy services that were medically unnecessary and/or not provided. Marrero and his co-conspirators at Trust Care also paid kickbacks and bribes to co-conspirators in doctors’ offices and clinics in exchange for home health and therapy prescriptions, medical certifications and other documentation. Marrero and his co-conspirators used these prescriptions, medical certifications and other documentation to fraudulently bill the Medicare program for home health care services, which Marrero knew was in violation of federal criminal laws.

From approximately March 2007 through at least October 2010, Trust Care submitted more than $20 million in claims for home health services. Medicare paid Trust Care more than $15 million for these fraudulent claims.

Marrero and his co-conspirators have also acknowledged their involvement in similar fraudulent schemes at several other Miami health care agencies in addition to Trust Care with estimated total losses of approximately $50 million. Those agencies include A&B Health Services Inc. , Centrum Home Health Care Inc., Global Nursing Home Health Inc., Lovable Home Health Services Corp., New Concepts In Health Inc., Nursemed Home Care Corp., R&M Health Care Inc., Ubieta Health System Inc., and Vital Care Home Health Services Inc.

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