Roberto F. Marrero, an actor who appeared on Miami Vice, America’s Most Wanted and Unsolved Mysteries, can add Medicare fraud offender to his resume.
The TV crime show actor was on the wrong side of the law when he appeared in court recently with his wife, Sandra Fernandez Viera, on Medicare fraud charges. The couple allegedly submitted $20 million in fraudulent billings to Medicare for healthcare services provided by Miami-based Trust Care Health Services, a Medicare-licensed healthcare center co-owned by the two from 2007 to 2010.
According to the indictment, the couple submitted false claims to Medicare for the treatment of 700 homebound diabetic patients who were allegedly assisted by costly, skilled nurses to inject their own insulin. The indictment also says the couple billed Medicare for unnecessary physical therapy and paid a recruiter thousands of dollars a month to supply them with patients.
Marrero received more than $5 million from Trust Care’s accounts and $4 million from other corporations he launched, according to court records, while his wife collected $400,000 from Trust Care’s accounts. As a result, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Miami is seeking to freeze the couple’s assets as FBI agents and Health and Human Services investigators try to uncover where they allegedly hid the money.
The two were among 89 accused Medicare fraud offenders charged in a federal operation that operated from Miami to Detroit to Los Angeles. The effort was part of a continuing crackdown by the Obama administration’s Medicare Fraud Strike Force, which has been very proactive in pursuing these scams. Collectively, the couple—along with doctors, nurses and other clinic operators—were accused of plotting to defraud Medicare a total of $223 million.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the results of the Strike Force’s sixth national takedown of alleged Medicare fraud offenders since 2010 at a news conference in Washington, D.C.
“We will use every appropriate tool and available resource to find, stop and punish those who seek to take advantage of their fellow citizens,” Holder said. Sebelius added: “You will get caught, and you will pay the price.”
How to Report Miami Medicare Fraud
Healthcare or medical billing employees who have inside knowledge of questionable Medicare billing practices can file a confidential legal claim under the False Claims Act. By acting as a “whistleblower” in what is known as a “qui tam” lawsuit, a private party may collect between 10 to 30 percent of the amount recovered, depending on how the case is prosecuted.
ARONOVITZ LAW: Miami Whistleblower / Qui Tam Law Firm
The Miami whistleblower law firm of ARONOVITZ LAW works with healthcare insiders on a confidential basis to document Medicare fraud and other forms of fraud against the government. Contact Florida whistleblower attorney Tod Aronovitz to discuss a potential case.