Tuesday, April 13, 2010

White Collar and Health Care: Former Professional Baseball Player Pleads Guilty to Medicare Fraud Charges

Ihosvany Marquez, a former pitcher in the Baltimore Orioles and Boston Red Sox organizations, pleaded guilty on Monday, April 12, 2010, in federal court in Miami to health care fraud charges. The government charged that Marquez and his partners submitted more than $55 million in false claims to Medicare for HIV and cancer therapy and pain treatment. The government contends that the defendants received more than $22 million in payments from Medicare as a result of the fraud.

Marquez and his co-conspirators operated six fraudulent Miami-Dade clinics and one in Orlando. It was from these clinics that Marquez and others caused fictitious bills to be sent to Medicare. According to the government, Marquez and his group did not provide any services. To operate the scheme Marquez and his group stole the Medicare numbers of some persons covered by the government insurance program and the provider numbers of physicians who participate in Medicare. The co-conspirators then laundered the Medicare proceeds through shell companies that they created for the sole purpose of laundering the proceeds of the fraud. Marquez and others also paid Cuban immigrants to pose as the owners of the clinics. These nominee owners received large fees with the understanding that the straw owners would flee the country if an investigation began.

The government will execute seizure orders on Marquez's property and holdings as he spent the proceeds of the fraud lavishly. Prosecutors contend that Marquez bought a number of luxury automobiles including a Lamborghini for almost half a million dollars, a second Lamborghini, a Ferrari, two Bentleys, and at least eight Mercedes Benzes. The total amount spent on automobiles according the government was $2.7 million. Additionally, the prosecutors allege that Marquez spent over $500,000 on jewelry and approximately $1,000,000 on thoroughbred races horses.

For more about the Marquez plea, please see The Miami Herald, "Former Pitcher: I Made Millions Off Claims," April 13, 2010.

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