Ernesto A. Montaner Sentenced to Five Years in Miami Medicare Fraud By Tod Aronovitz | 06/26/13 | 0 Comment

Ernesto A. Montaner, who was convicted of defrauding Medicare of millions over a three-year period, was recently handed down a maximum five-year prison sentence by U.S. District Judge James Lawrence King. The Miami federal judge showed no sympathy for the 71-year-old Montaner, who tried to play up his advanced age and declining health to receive a reduced sentence for the Miami Medicare fraud scheme.

Montaner, who fled to Costa Rica in an effort to avoid charges and his impending arrest in 2010, was also ordered to pay back Medicare over $2.8 million for his corrupt scheme which involved bribing assisted-living facilities, home healthcare agencies and patient recruiters in the Miami area for Medicare referrals. Along with his son, Ernesto Montaner, Jr., and business partner Jose A. Verona, the three bilked $6.2 million from Medicare for services that were either unnecessary or never provided from 2006 through 2008.

A twist in the case was that Montaner Jr., testified against his father before a federal grand jury and was almost called to the stand as a cooperating witness to establish his father’s control of four physical therapy clinics. Montaner Sr., however, implicated his son in the management of the clinics, but later dropped the charge to the leadership claim, making it unnecessary for his son to testify again and alleviating strain that would be put on the family as a result.

After admitting to manipulating Medicare billing codes to maximize payments, Montaner Jr., 46, entered a guilty plea of conspiring to defraud Medicare and was sentenced in 2010 to a lesser term of four years in prison for agreeing to cooperate with prosecutors. Varona, 40, a patient recruiter who operated one of Montaner Sr.’s clinics, also entered a guilty plea to the same charge and was originally sentenced to three years in prison. His sentence was later reduced to two years after leaking essential information about Montaner Sr.’s whereabouts in Costa Rica.

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 routinely works with Miami whistleblowers to document Medicare fraud and other forms of fraud against the government. Contact Miami Whistleblower / Qui Tam attorney Tod Aronovitz to discuss a case.