Fraud Conspirators Find a New Home in Prison

Three patient recruiters from a now defunct Miami home health care company were sentenced to prison terms and ordered to pay restitution on September 18, 2014, for their roles in a $20 million fraud scheme, thanks to the FBI and HHS Office of Inspector General. The threesome received kickbacks for bringing patients to Trust Care Health Services Inc. (Trust Care) for unnecessary and sometimes unprovided home health care and therapy services. Trust Care then fraudulently billed the Medicare program for the services. Several other co-conspirators were also involved in the scheme, and one received sentencing just two days prior.

Recruiters

Estrella Perez, Solchys Perez, and Abigail Aguila took part in the kickback scheme, but Estrella Perez and Solchys Perez also paid connections they had in doctors’ offices and clinics in exchange for home health and therapy prescriptions, patient plans of care, and medical certifications for their recruited patients. Others at Trust Care then used these documents to fraudulently bill the Medicare program for $20 million in services during March 2007 through January 2010. Medicare reimbursed Trust Care approximately $15 million for these false claims.

Sentences

Estrella Perez and Solchys Perez pleaded guilty in July 2014 to conspiracy to commit health care fraud, and Aguila pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States and receive health care kickbacks. Estrella received a three-year prison term, while Solchys Perez and Aguila received two-and-a-half-year prison terms. All were ordered to pay almost $2 million in combined restitution. Trust Care is now defunct.

The case was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, which operates in nine cities across the United States and has charged nearly 2,000 defendants whose fraudulent activities have cost the Medicare program more than $6 billion.