The owner of a health care facility in South Florida, previously accused of bribing a coach to get his son into the University of Pennsylvania, has been convicted of conspiring to defraud the U.S. in a case that led to more than $1.3 billion in fraudulent health care claims.
Philip Esformes, 50, was found guilty of money laundering, and receiving and paying kickbacks among other charges in the largest health care fraud case every brought by the U.S. Justice Department.
“Philip Esformes orchestrated one of the largest health care fraud schemes in U.S. history, defrauding Medicare and Medicaid to the tune of over a billion dollars,’’ Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski said in a statement, adding that because of Esformes’ actions, “American taxpayers and vulnerable beneficiaries … were denied the level of care that they needed and deserved.”
During the eight-week trial, Jerome Allen, a former basketball coach at the University of Pennsylvania testified that Esformes had paid him roughly $300,000 in bribes to get Esformes’ son into the school through a spot in the school’s basketball program.
Esformes received more than $37 million from his multi-pronged scheme, according to evidence presented in court and recounted in the Justice Department statement.
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Starting around January 1998, and continuing through July 2016, Esformes paid doctors to admit patients into his assisted living and skilled nursing centers. The facilities then billed Medicare and Medicaid even though the patients did not get the services they needed or got treatment that was not necessary.
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