Health Care

HIV/AIDS Doctors Arrested for $10 Million Medicare Fraud

| by DOJ

WASHINGTON – Six Miami-Dade County residents have been indicted in
connection with an alleged $10 million Medicare fraud scheme operated
out of Midway Medical, a Miami clinic that purported to specialize in
treating HIV/AIDS patients, Acting Assistant Attorney General Rita M.
Glavin of the Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney R. Alexander Acosta
of the Southern District of Florida announced.

Carmen Lourdes del Cueto, M.D., 65, Roberto Rodriguez, M.D., 54, Carlos
Garrido, M.D., 69, Gonzalo Nodarse, 38, Alexis Carrazana, 41, and
Alexis Dagnesses, 44, were all indicted by a grand jury in Miami on
Feb. 12, 2009, for conspiracy to commit health care fraud. Del Cueto,
Rodriguez, Garrido and Nodarse were also charged with conspiracy to
launder health care fraud proceeds, as well as three counts each of
substantive money laundering. The indictment seeks the forfeiture of
assets from all named defendants.

According to the indictment, the three physicians, del Cueto, Rodriguez
and Garrido, were part-owners of Midway Medical. Midway Medical
purported to be an infusion clinic that specialized in providing
infusions and injections to HIV-positive patients. The indictment
alleges that the physicians ordered medically unnecessary infusions and
injections, and falsified medical records to make it appear that the
HIV services were necessary. The indictment also alleges that many of
the infusions or injections were never actually provided.

The indictment also alleges that medical assistants Nodarse and
Carrazana assisted the physicians in falsifying the medical records to
make it appear that the services were needed. As part of the scheme,
Dagnesses is alleged to have manipulated HIV-positive blood samples in
order to obtain laboratory reports indicating that the patients had
illnesses that they in fact did not have.

Del Cueto, Rodriguez, Garrido and Nodarse are further charged with
distributing the proceeds of the fraud through a series of financial
transactions involving more that $10,000 in tainted funds.

The indictment alleges that the physicians at Midway Medical billed
more than $10 million to the Medicare program for services that were
medically unnecessary and not actually provided between September 2002
and June 2005. During that time frame, Medicare paid more than $4.8
million on those fraudulent claims submitted by Midway Medical. If
convicted on all charges, Del Cueto, Rodriguez, Garrido and Nodarse
each face maximum prison sentences of 50 years. Carrazana and Dagnesses
face 10 year maximum terms in prison.

An indictment is merely a charge and defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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