Thursday, December 1, 2011

Santiago Villa-Restrepo Pleads Guilty in Connection with $5.4 Million Medicare Fraud Scheme in Detroit


WASHINGTON—A patient recruiter pleaded guilty today for his participation in a Medicare fraud scheme operated out of three Detroit-area health care clinics, announced the Department of Justice, the FBI and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Santiago Villa-Restrepo, 33, of Miami, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Arthur J. Tarnow in the Eastern District of Michigan to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. At sentencing, Villa-Restrepo faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

According to the plea documents, Villa-Restrepo recruited Medicare beneficiaries for three Detroit-area health care clinics owned by co-conspirators. In exchange for cash bribes paid by Villa-Restrepo and others, the beneficiaries agreed to attend the clinics where they provided their Medicare provider numbers and other information, which allowed the clinics to bill for diagnostic tests that were medically unnecessary, and in some cases, not provided at all. According to court documents, Medicare was billed $5.4 million for medically unnecessary diagnostic tests by the clinics associated with the scheme.

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