A Florida man and woman have been sentenced for their involvement in a far-reaching scheme to defraud Medicare. They were found guilty of billing over $93 million for home health therapy services that were never provided. Karel Felipe, aged 42 and from Miami Shores, has been sentenced to eight years and four months in prison. Tamara Quicutis, aged 54 and from Hialeah, has been sentenced to five years and 10 months in prison. The court has also ordered the forfeiture of the proceeds from the fraudulent activities. Both defendants were convicted in October 2023 after a jury determined their guilt in conspiring to commit health care fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering.
According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Felipe and Quicutis were involved in a conspiracy to defraud Medicare. They collaborated with others to submit false bills to Medicare on behalf of three home health companies in Michigan. Their co-conspirators recruited individuals from Cuba to pose as the owners of these home health agencies, thereby concealing the true identities of Felipe, Quicutis, and others involved in the scheme.
Felipe, Quicutis, and their accomplices exploited these home health companies to submit claims for services that were never provided. They utilized stolen patient identities to carry out this fraudulent activity. To launder the proceeds from Medicare fraud, Felipe, Quicutis, and their co-conspirators established numerous shell companies and maintained hundreds of bank accounts. They further converted the fraudulently obtained funds into cash by utilizing Miami-area ATMs and check cashing stores.
In the case, four more individuals from Florida have already received their sentences. Jesus Trujillo, aged 52 and hailing from Miami, pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges including health care fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering. As a result, he was sentenced to 14 years in prison. Additionally, the court issued a forfeiture money judgment against Trujillo for the amount of $44,351,817 involved in the money laundering scheme. To satisfy this judgment, two real properties were also ordered to be forfeited.
Didier Arcia, a 44-year-old resident of Davenport, has been sentenced to six years and eight months in prison. He pleaded guilty to the charge of conspiracy to commit money laundering. Likewise, Alexey Gil, a 41-year-old individual from Miami, has been sentenced to five years and five months in prison.
Gil also pleaded guilty, but his charges were related to conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud. On the other hand, Jeffrey Avila, a 33-year-old from Miami, received a sentence of time served and supervised release. Avila, like the others, admitted guilt in the case of conspiracy to commit money laundering.
The announcement was made by Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Markenzy Lapointe for the Southern District of Florida, Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey B. Veltri of the FBI Miami Field Office, and Acting Special Agent in Charge Stephen Mahmood of the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General (HHS-OIG) Miami Regional Office.
The FBI and HHS-OIG investigated the case. The prosecution of the case was carried out by Trial Attorneys Jamie de Boer, D. Keith Clouser, and Emily Gurskis from the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section. Assistant U.S. Attorney Gabrielle Raemy Charest-Turken is responsible for asset forfeiture in the Southern District of Florida.
The Fraud Section takes the lead in the Criminal Division’s mission to fight health care fraud by implementing the Health Care Fraud Strike Force Program. This program, which has been active since March 2007, consists of nine strike forces operating in 27 federal districts.
Together, they have successfully charged over 5,400 defendants who have collectively billed more than $27 billion to federal health care programs and private insurers. Moreover, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, in collaboration with HHS-OIG, are working tirelessly to ensure that providers are held responsible for their participation in health care fraud schemes.
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