WASHINGTON – A Florida man, who had been the straw owner of a physical therapy rehabilitation facility, has been sentenced to serve 30 months in prison for his role in a $28.3 million Medicare fraud scheme.
Roberto Fernandez Gonzalez, 63, formerly of Southwest Florida, was ordered to forfeit $446,738 and pay the same amount in restitution. Fernandez pleaded guilty on June 24, 2013, to conspiracy to commit health care fraud.
According to court documents, Fernandez and his co-conspirators used various physical therapy clinics and other business entities throughout Florida – including Rehab Dynamics Inc. in Venice, Fla. – to submit approximately $28.3 million in fraudulent reimbursement claims to Medicare from 2005 through 2009. Medicare paid approximately $14.4 million on those claims.
Fernandez’s co-conspirators obtained and controlled Rehab Dynamics. They engaged in a sham sale of Rehab Dynamics to Fernandez, a Cuban immigrant with no background in the health care industry. Fernandez did not have the money to buy Rehab Dynamics. Instead, the co-conspirators paid Fernandez approximately $20,000 to serve as the straw owner of Rehab Dynamics from January 2008 through March 2008. During that time, Rehab Dynamics submitted approximately $1.6 million in fraudulent claims to Medicare seeking reimbursement for rehabilitation therapy services that were not provided. Medicare paid approximately $446,738 on those false claims