Among the thousands of people charged with Medicare fraud in Miami, only a handful would qualify as repeat offenders.
Meet one of them, Vicente Gonzalez Acosta. A decade ago, Gonzalez pleaded guilty to helping a Miami-based network of HIV-therapy clinics expand into the South as they billed $100 million to the taxpayer-funded program and collected $30 million in payments. But actually provided no medical services at all.
Instead of going straight after serving five years in prison — about half his original sentence because he cooperated with the feds — Gonzalez jumped right back into the Medicare rackets, authorities say.
He went on to play a supporting role in another Miami-based ring that opened a Michigan chain of home healthcare agencies, which then submitted $80 million in bogus claims to Medicare and reaped $53 million — again, without providing services to a single patient.
Gonzalez, 48, and seven other defendants have been charged with Medicare fraud and laundering the proceeds. They’re accused of recruiting Cubans to pose as “straw owners” of home healthcare agencies — along with dozens of shell companies and bank accounts — to hide the identities of the actual operators and the illicit money flowing to them. The organization controlled a total of 140 bank accounts, according to court papers.