South Florida Man Who Fled U.S. Returned and Sentenced in Healthcare Fraud Money Laundering Scheme

A Hialeah man who fled to the Dominican Republic after being indicted for his role in a multimillion-dollar healthcare fraud scheme has been sentenced to more than seven years behind bars and ordered to pay more than $3.7 million in restitution.

Federal authorities said that between August 2020 and August 2022, Julio Arsenio Rodriguez conspired with a network of South Florida clinics to submit millions of dollars in fraudulent claims to Medicare and Medicaid for durable medical equipment (DME). The DME was neither medically necessary nor provided. He also served as the legal owner and registered agent of several fictitious companies, which he used to launder the healthcare fraud proceeds. 

Indicted in Healthcare Fraud Money Laundering Scheme

Indicted in Healthcare Fraud Money Laundering Scheme

Rodriguez was indicted in November 2022 on one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and 14 counts of money laundering. However, in March 2023, he failed to appear in court and a judge issued a warrant for his arrest. Eight months later, he was found in the Dominican Republic, where authorities say he was attempting to open businesses.

In November 2023, he surrendered and was brought back to the U.S. to face charges. Rodriguez pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering in January of this year. He faced up to 20 years behind bars.

What is Money Laundering in Healthcare?

Money laundering involves taking the profits of an illegal activity and converting them into legitimate assets. It is called money laundering because the money coming from criminal activity is considered dirty and the person who engages in money laundering wants to make it look like the money came from a noncriminal activity and is clean.

According to the 2024 National Money Laundering Risk Assessment, healthcare fraud is one of the leading proceed-generating crime for which funds are laundered in or through the United States.

Healthcare Fraud Money Laundering Cases on the Rise

In the 2024 National Money Laundering Risk Assessment (NMLRA) it’s noted that healthcare fraud, and subsequently healthcare fraud money laundering, remained a leading source of False Claims Act settlements and judgments. The NMLRA notes that “… healthcare fraud continues to represent the highest proceeds-generating offenses.” The DOJ and federal law enforcement agencies have devoted significant resources to combating this type of fraud, including through the development of a “strike force” model of investigative and prosecutorial resources.

We have written several stories this year alone involving cases of healthcare fraud and money laundering.

In January, we wrote about a Florida man and woman who were sentenced to prison for their roles in a home healthcare fraud scheme that used stolen patient data and spanned from the U.S. to Cuba. The two were found guilty by a jury in October of conspiring to commit healthcare fraud and wire fraud and conspiring to commit money laundering.

In February we told you about the owner of a home healthcare company who was convicted for orchestrating a $2.8 million healthcare fraud and wire fraud conspiracy, and engaging in money laundering, aggravated identity theft, and witness tampering, has been sentenced to nine years in prison.

And in April we wrote about the owner of two California-based hospice companies and his biller/consultant who were sentenced to prison for their roles in a $9 million hospice fraud scheme. the two were charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud, healthcare fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering for their roles in an alleged scheme to submit false Medicare claims.

How We Can Assist

Our healthcare fraud defense attorneys can assist you in creating compliance plans to ensure that any activities in which you engage are legal. And should you need a healthcare fraud defense attorney, we can assist you in developing an effective healthcare fraud defense plan designed to mitigate criminal, civil or administrative liability.

Facing legal challenges alone can be daunting. At The Health Law Offices of Anthony C. Vitale, we can provide the support and guidance you need to protect your practice, your reputation, and maintain your professional integrity.

Call us at 305-358-4500 to to schedule a consultation and discover how we can assist you in navigating the complexities of healthcare compliance and defense.

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The Health Law Offices of Anthony C. Vitale