Convicted killer facing new murder charge pleads guilty in miami medicare fraud case
Posted on August 26, 2009 3:00 AM EST
On Friday, August 21, 2009, with the assistance of a Miami criminal lawyer
, a Miami man pled guilty in federal court
to committing Medicare fraud
. Guillermo Gonzalez admitted that he defrauded the federal government out of $586,953 by filing false claims with Medicare for medical supplies that were never provided to patients. Gonzalez stole physician's names to write prescriptions and also misappropriated patient's Medicare numbers.
The interesting fact about this case is that Gonzalez was convicted of second degree murder back in 1992. Originally, he was charged with first degree murder for allegedly shooting and killing a man over a monetary dispute at a Hialeah Tire Kingdom. Gonzalez eventually reached a plea deal with the Miami-Dade County State Attorney's Office whereby he would plead guilty to second degree murder
in exchange for a thirty year sentence. He served approximately 14 years of the 30 year sentence.
After being released from prison, Gonzalez, purchased DG Medical for $18,000 back in December 2006. He purchased the company from Deborah Gomez who had already obtained a Medicare license earlier in the year. Medicare refunded Gonzalez approximately $31,000 in tax payer money. This case is a prime example of Medicare's inability to oversee Medicare providers in Miami and South Florida. Medicare is supposed to conduct criminal background checks on all owners of facilities that bill Medicare for benefits. Convicted felons are precluded by law from owning or operators Medicare facilities. It seems that Medicare overlooked Gonzalez's criminal past.
Health and Human Services Inspector General Daniel Levinson recommended to Medicare "watch dogs" to conduct regular inspections of clinics and doctor's offices to ensure that legitimate Medicare billing was taking place. Medicare's efforts to regulate and oversee medical equipment suppliers has been woefully inadequate. However, Medicare's anti-fraud director, Kimberly Brandt, said that Medicare regulators are conducting more thorough investigations in Miami and Los Angeles, two of the country's worst cities for healthcare fraud.
Despite his recent plea, Gonzalez is facing far more serious problems in Miami, Florida. The Miami-Dade County State Attorney's Office has indicted Gonzalez for first degree murder
in the slaying of Sergio Quintero last year. Hialeah law enforcement officers allege that Gonzalez and Quintero were at Gonzalez's home when an argument broke out over money. According to police reports, Gonzalez stabbed Quintero numerous times with a kitchen knife and then dismembered the body and disposed of the pieces.
Convicted Killer Pleads Guilty to Medicare Fraud, Faces New Murder Charge, The Miami Herald, August 21, 2009.