Medicare Fraud

Miami is a hotbed for Medicare fraud.   The arrest of 4 people associated with American Therapeutic Corporation (ATC) charged with $205 million Medicare fraud schemes has not helped that reputation.   American Therapeutic Corporation is the biggest mental-health community   center in Florida. They operate seven mental health centers in the South and Central Florida area.   ATC owners, Lawrence Duran, CEO Marianella Valera, and two other employees have been engaged in widespread Medicare fraud,   preying on patients with severe dementia, and force them to go through treatment they did not need, and stay longer at the facility in order to increase billing to Medicare, falsified medical charts to make it look like patients had a mental illness and needed medication and therapy to be stabilized,   paid kickbacks to assisted living facilities to go along with the scheme. In some cases, they even paid kickbacks to the patients themselves.

According to court documents, ATC employees repeatedly complained to the owners that patients who could not feed themselves and who often defecated on themselves were not eligible for group therapy. “Employees who failed to cooperate or participate in the fraud were terminated,” the documents say.   That launched whistle-blower and criminal investigations that led to the Justice Department's shutdown of ATC on October 21st, 2010, and the arrest of Lawrence S. Duran, 48, of North Miami, the owner of American Therapeutic;   Marianella Valera, 39, the company's CEO; Margarita Acevedo, 40, the firm's marketing director; and Judith Negron, 39, vice president of a subsidiary.
During trial, prosecutors admitted that they have only been able to locate $7 million in assets.   They believe the defendants to have purchased property or opened accounts in Switzerland, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic.

In 2011, a federal jury convicted American Therapeutic Corporation executives Lawrence Duran, Marianella Valera and Judith Negron, to 50 years, 35...