Jury Convicts Doctors in $205M Healthcare Fraud, 1 Executive Sentenced to 50 Years
Friday, a federal jury found Dr. Mark Willner, Dr. Alberto Ayala, and therapist Vanja Abreu guilty of conspiracy for their roles in a $205M healthcare fraud at American Therapeutic Corporation.
American Therapeutic Corporation executives Lawrence Duran, Marianella Valera, Judith Negron, among others, previously pleaded guilty to the fraud. Dunn was sentenced to 50 years, while Valera and Negron will each serve 35 years.
According to DoJ, evidence at trial demonstrated that:
“ATC billed Medicare for hundreds of millions of dollars in false and fictitious services, for thousands of patients who were not qualified, based on fraudulent documents created by Abreu and others and bogus certifications signed by Willner and Ayala. In addition, the evidence at trial showed that Morris paid illegal kickbacks to owners and operators of assisted living facilities, halfway houses, and to patient brokers in exchange for delivering ineligible patients to ATC and ASI.”
The doctors solicited and/or received kickbacks ranging in the tens of millions
over the course of the conspiracy — and the company and its executives bilked more than $200 million from the federal healthcare system.
To facilitate and cover-up the scheme, “co-conspirators personally altered, and caused the alteration of, patient files and therapist notes for the purpose of making it appear, falsely, that patients being treated by ATC were qualified for PHP treatments and that the treatments provided were legitimate PHP treatments,” claims to DoJ. According to the evidence presented at trial, some doctors routinely “robo-signed” patient documents and orders without even looking at them, while at least one doctor became so brash as to allow the corporation to bill for services purportedly rendered by him when he was actually “out of the country on vacation.”