After Five Years on the Lam, Unlicensed Miami Nurse Sentenced in $11 Million Miami Medicare Fraud By Tod Aronovitz | 01/23/14 | 0 Comment

An unlicensed Miami clinic nurse, who was charged in 2008 for her role in a Miami Medicare fraud scheme but fled the country, is now paying the price.  Carmen Gonzalez, as we previously reported on our ARONOVITZ LAW blog on November 19, slipped back into the U.S. after five years as a fugitive, but made the critical mistake of reapplying for a Florida driver’s license and was caught late last year.

The 39-year old Gonzalez was sentenced to serve 108 months in prison for her role in the $11 million fraud scheme involving St. Jude Rehabilitation Center.  The fraudulent HIV infusion clinic, located in Miami, was controlled by her cousins, Jose, Carlos and Luis Benitez, a.k.a. the “Benitez Brothers,” who also fled the country. Gonzalez, who was sentenced by Chief U.S. District Judge Federico A. Moreno in Miami, was also sentenced for failing to appear at a June 2008 bond hearing and ordered to serve three years of supervised release in addition to her jail sentence.

Evidence presented at the trial showed that over a five-month period, Gonzalez was an unlicensed nurse who paid thousands to HIV beneficiaries so that St. Jude Rehabilitation could submit false and fraudulent claims to Medicare.  These claims were worth millions of dollars for expensive HIV infusion therapy that was neither medically necessary nor provided.  Gonzalez fabricated patient medical records and knowingly concealed the fraud to support the false claims submitted to Medicare.

On October 17, 2013, Gonzalez pleaded guilty to knowingly and willfully failing to appear at a June 2008 hearing as directed by Judge Moreno. Court documents reveal that Gonzalez was released on bond pending trial, but she knowingly and willfully failed to appear as directed by the court.

Fraud appears to run in the family.  In January 2013, Gonzalez’s father, Enrique Gonzalez, was sentenced to 70 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga in the Southern District of Florida for his role in separate health care fraud conspiracy.

Her cousins, the Benitez Brothers, remain fugitives. Anyone with information regarding their whereabouts is urged to contact HHS-OIG at 202.619.0088.

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 Qui Tam 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 lawyer Tod Aronovitz to discuss a case.