Miami and Medicare fraud. The two go hand-in-hand like a baby in a basket.
So it probably wasn’t the brightest idea for Lawrence Duran and Marianella Valera to set up a company called American Therapeutic to run a chain of seven mental health clinics in South Florida and Orlando that duped Medicare into paying out $87 million during the past decade.
It probably didn’t help that, in order to perpetuate their fraud against U.S. taxpayers, they held “charting parties” — gatherings where “they would falsify the medical records of beneficiaries to make it look like they needed therapy when they actually didn’t,” according to the Miami Herald.
In the past week, both have been given huge prison sentences — 50 years for Lawrence Duran and 35 years for mental health counselor Marianelle Valera, who will be looking to be released from prison when she’s 75 years old.
Crime doesn’t pay, not even in mental health.
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