Federal Judge Slams Mastermind of $205M Health Care Racket with Record 50-Year Sentence
Posted Sep 16, 2011 3:42 PM CDT
By Martha Neil
Citing "a critical need for deterrence against health care fraud," a federal judge in South Florida today sentenced the convicted mastermind of a $205 million health care racket to a 50-year prison term.
The sentence given to Lawrence Duran, 49, by U.S. District Judge James Lawrence King following a three-day sentencing hearing is a record for a Medicare fraud case, reports the Miami Herald.
The previous record was a 30-year prison term given to a Florida physician in 2008. Prosecutors are seeking a 40-year sentence for Duran's girlfriend, who is a co-owner of the American Therapeutic Corp. chain of clinics operated for eight years as a criminal enterprise, the newspaper notes.
The company paid kickbacks to those who supplied purported patients, regardless of whether they could be expected to benefit from the company's group therapy sessions. It also billed for treatment that wasn't provided, according to an earlier Herald article that details the case against both Duran and Marianella Valera, 40. Both pleaded guilty in April.
Duran reportedly lived a lavish lifestyle on his seven-figure annual earnings in recent years, as the company submitted $205 million in bogus bills and collected $87 million. Prosecutor Jennifer Saulino pushed him to reveal where the rest of the money is, contending that he hadn't told the government everything. However, Duran insisted that wasn't so.
“I’m facing a life sentence,” he testified today. “Do you think I would hold back on where the money is? If there were a cent, I would tell you where it is.”
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