20-year sentence in Medicare fraud case

June 28, 2011 at 12:08 PM
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MIAMI, June 28 (UPI) -- A Miami physician convicted of fraud for issuing phony prescriptions for unnecessary medical treatments has been sentenced to nearly 20 years in prison.

Dr. Rene de los Rios was convicted of pocketing more than $1 million from the federal Medicare program by falsifying patient records and writing bogus prescriptions for HIV treatments at two Miami-Dade clinics that billed Medicare $46.2 million for human immunodeficiency virus therapy from 2003 to 2005, The Miami Herald reported Tuesday.

Medicare paid the clinics $19.7 million for the treatments that were either unnecessary or not provided to patients, some of whom received kickbacks for allowing the use of their Medicare cards, the newspaper said.

U.S. District Judge Joan Lenard said de los Rios, a Cuban-born physician trained in Spain, violated his medical oath by stealing from the government program and disgraced himself, his family and his community.

"Dr. de los Rios does not deserve the title of doctor anymore," the judge said in passing sentence.

"He signed off and participated in a fraud of huge proportions," Lenard said.

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