Fugitive Tied to $100 Million Miami Medicare HIV Clinic Scheme Captured at Mexican Border By Tod Aronovitz | 03/21/14 | 0 Comment

Juan Carralero, a fugitive who was implicated in a $100 million HIV-clinic ploy to rip off the Medicare program, was detained by the FBI at the Mexico-California border after trying to return to the U.S. in February.

A 2009 indictment charged the 60-year old Cuban with assisting in a massive Miami-based health care fraud scheme that involved straw owners “running” phony HIV health care centers to conceal the ringleaders’ operations. These operations stretched across Miami-Dade and four other states in the southeastern U.S.

Court records reveal that Carralero was the CEO, registered agent and secretary of two of those clinics—Comprehensive Medical and Best Care—in Georgia, according to a recent story in the Miami Herald. He is being transferred from San Diego to Miami where he will face charges.

One of the leaders, Michel De Jesus Huarte, pleaded guilty to fraud charges in 2009 and was sentenced to 22 years in prison. His partner, Ramon Fonseca, is suspected to have fled to Venezuela. The two other immigrant-recruits wanted in the case, Orlin Tamayo-Quinones and Madelin Barbara Machado, are in Cuba, the FBI believes.

The alleged scheme began in Miami in 2005 but later spread to Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina and South Carolina and operated through 2009. Conspirators in the 10-person ring used empty storefronts and post office boxes, according to an indictment.

One of the striking differences, however, was that the scheme also defrauded private insurers that administered the Medicare Advantage plan. Overall, the ring collected about $30 million in fraudulent payments from 36 fake clinics in five states, the Herald said.

Authorities have found that Carralero’s circumstances surrounding his case are typical, the article pointed out. Huarte acknowledged that he recruited “three Cubans” to be straw owners with the impression that they would return to Cuba to escape capture by authorities.

Besides Carralero, the FBI and Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General have nabbed more than 30 other defendants since 2008. According to the Herald, there are still 150 fugitives with outstanding arrest warrants for Medicare fraud in South Florida. Most of these defendants are Cuban-born immigrants who fled to Cuba, Mexico, the Dominican Republic and other Spanish-speaking countries to dodge federal trials.

With the exception of Cuba, several countries with U.S. extradition treaties have helped make arrests and returned fugitives to this country. Many, however, are apprehended when they try to come back to the U.S.

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.