From KKD and Lawsters group–on Prosecuting health care fraud

Subject: Re: [Lawsters:29262] Re: Are you aware of this? If we could get an Honest investigation not only would we free the victims of elder cleansing, but corrupt public officials – such as Jerome Larkin would be in jail!
Date: Oct 5, 2017 9:21 PM
It looks like that this administration is serious about prosecuting Medicare and other health care frauds.   I say “looks like”  because I do not see the Chicago crowd being indicted, nor do I see Jerome Larkin (administrator of the Illinois Attorney Disciplinary commission) being indicted for his assault on the First Amendment and on his duty to the public.
It is amazing to me.   The political class is always complaining that there is noT enough money to run the government yet, the booty that has been garnered by the Elder Cleansing (Gulag) scandals remains untaxed.    In the case of Larkin as an example, his overt acts in furtherance of the elder cleansing made him liable to pay the taxes interest and penalties on not only the three million dollars stolen from Mary Sykes, but the windfall from the Medicare thefts that also occurred.    Taxing every one of the miscreants jointly and severally for all the taxes, interest and penalties does several positive things, to wit:
1) It provides money to run the government and
2) It sends a message to the public that public officials are not immune from prosecution when they engage in criminal conspiracies.
3) It sends a message to every member of the Political and Judicial elite that we and our government is serious — we have zero tolerance for political and/or judicial corruption and it is NOT akin to yelling fire in a crowded theater to report corruption by judges. and
4) it sends a message to all that the RULE OF LAW IS ALIVE AND WELL!
Most Americans that I’ve communicated with have lost faith in their government and really want the rampant corruption that we see every day to be seriously addressed.   The RULE OF LAW ought to mean something to the political class other than providing catch words and phrases to mouth and then ignore.
On Thursday, October 5, 2017, 6:04:19 PM CDT, ‘kenneth ditkowsky’ via Lawsters <lawsters@googlegroups.com> wrote:
Is this a new conviction?

TWO SOUTH FLORIDA PSYCHS, 3 OTHERS CONVICTED ON MEDICARE FRAUD CHARGES

Agents with the FBI and Investigations Division of the Office of the Inspector General are seen outside the American Therapeutic Corp. building in October 2010 in Miami. Federal agents raided the building during an operation that resulted in the arrest of four in what is being called one of the nation’s biggest Medicare fraud cases.

Miami Herald
MEDICARE FRAUD
Two South Florida doctors, 3 others convicted on Medicare fraud charges
A Miami federal jury convicted five people of Medicare-related fraud in a case involving the nation’s biggest mental-health racket.
BY JAY WEAVER
jweaver@MiamiHerald.com
Two South Florida doctors stared in disbelief — then teared up as they turned to relatives for comfort — after a federal jury found them guilty Friday of conspiring to defraud Medicare through the nation’s biggest mental-health racket.The 12-person Miami jury convicted psychiatrists Mark Willner of Weston and Alberto Ayala of Coral Gables, the medical directors for American Therapeutic Corp., for their roles in a $205 million scheme to fleece the taxpayer-funded program for the elderly and disabled. The jurors found them not guilty on other healthcare fraud offenses.

In addition, the jury convicted Vanja Abreu, Ph.D, program director for American Therapeutic in Miami-Dade, of the same healthcare-fraud conspiracy offense, and two other defendants, Hilario Morris and Curtis Gates, of paying kickbacks to residential home operators in exchange for providing patients.

However, the jurors, who deliberated for five days after a nearly two-month trial, could not reach conspiracy verdicts against Lydia Ward, Ph.D., program director for American Therapeutic in Broward, Nichole Eckert, a Fort Lauderdale therapist, or Morris and Gates. Justice Department lawyers said they plan to retry those defendants on the deadlocked counts.

‘DEEPLY DIVIDED’

“I think the jury was deeply divided,” said Ward’s attorney Dennis Urbano, who noted the panel went through three forepersons and that two jurors asked to be dismissed after deliberations began May 25. “It shows there was a lot of conflict.’’

After the verdicts, U.S. District Judge Patricia Seitz revoked the bonds of the two doctors and Morris, who will remain in custody at the Federal Detention Center until they are sentenced in August. The doctors and Abreu face up to 10 years in prison. Morris and Gates face up to five years.

Seitz said she was concerned that the doctors and Morris might flee the country, despite arguments by their lawyers that they have “strong ties” to the South Florida community. “There has been a verdict,” the judge said. “It’s a lot more than a possibility.”

Since Miami-based American Therapeutic’s clinic chain was shuttered nearly two years ago, 35 defendants have been charged in the case with the majority pleading guilty. Last year, a third doctor, psychiatrist Alan Gumer of Tamarac, pleaded guilty, accepting responsibility for more than $19 million of false claims submitted by the clinics.

Gumer testified against fellow doctors Willner and Ayala, who were accused of altering the diagnoses and medications of thousands of patients to make it look as if they qualified for group therapy sessions so that Medicare would pay fraudulent bills submitted by American Therapeutic.

‘DOESN’T MAKE SENSE’

Justice Department trial attorney Jennifer Saulino said the doctors’ assertions that they were unaware of the fraud while prescribing $120 million worth of psychotherapy sessions at the chain of clinics “does not make sense.” Willner and Ayala were paid $641,000 and $536,000, respectively, for their services, according to trial evidence.

The prosecutor said all seven defendants not only victimized Medicare, but also the chain’s patients. Among them: people with Alzheimer’s disease, addicts and alcoholics, bused from assisted-living facilities to the chain’s six clinics in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.

Saulino said the costly group therapy sessions were intended for patients with schizophrenia, bipolar conditions and other severe mental illnesses. “Those are the victims who were used to commit this fraud,” she said during closing arguments a week ago.

But a defense attorney for Eckert, American Therapeutic’s therapist in Broward, said she had no clue about any corruption in the company as she counseled patients. “God bless America,” her lawyer, Michael Tein, said after the jury hung on her conspiracy charge and acquitted her on healthcare-fraud offenses. “The system worked.”

Defense attorneys for the two doctors sought to portray the physicians as victims themselves who were kept in the dark by American Therapeutic’s top executives, including owner Lawrence Duran, now serving a 50-year prison sentence. Duran and three other convicted execs pocketed $83 million from Medicare during the past decade.

‘PART-TIME’ DOCTORS

Attorney Sam Rabin, who represents Willner, tried to show jurors that he worked only part time at two Broward clinics for American Therapeutic, visiting the sites once or twice a week as he interacted with his team of psychiatric nurses.

Ayala’s defense lawyer, Jose Quiñon, also said his client worked part time at American Therapeutic’s clinic in Miami and Homestead, visiting the facilities once a week and relying on a physician’s assistant.

Seitz, the judge, limited their legal strategy by ruling that the two defense attorneys could not try to show that Willner and Ayala were following state law when they relied on other professionals to determine patient diagnoses. Said Rabin: “We will be appealing.”

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