A Medical Device Daily

Dilcia Marinez, a resident of Miami, Florida, pleaded guilty this week to defrauding the Medicare program and laundering the proceeds of the crimes in connection with a $14 million HIV infusion fraud scheme, according to the U.S. Department of Justice (Washington). Marinez pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and money laundering before U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno.

Marinez admitted that as president/director of G&S Medical Center (Miami) she entered into an agreement in 2003 with Carlos Benitez, Luis Benitez, Thomas McKenzie and others to operate G&S as an HIV infusion clinic. According to plea documents, the Benitezes referred HIV-positive Medicare beneficiaries to the clinic and directed McKenzie to teach the clinic physicians ways to make it appear that legitimate services were being provided.

Marinez admitted that between June 2003 and December 2003, G&S submitted about $14 million in Medicare claims for HIV infusion services never provided and services that were medically unnecessary. Medicare paid about $9.6 million on the claims.

Marinez also admitted to assisting the Benitez brothers in laundering around $4 million in proceeds from the fraud by making checks out to sham marketing and management companies owned by the Benitezes.

In a related case, brothers Carlos, Luis and Jose Benitez, as well as McKenzie, were indicted on June 11 for their role in a $110 million HIV infusion and money laundering scheme. The indictment alleges that the brothers were the masterminds of an HIV infusion fraud throughout South Florida, involving at least 11 clinics, and that they laundered the proceeds.

According to the indictment, Carlos and Luis Benitez were the true owners of G&S. The three brothers remain fugitives, while McKenzie is currently being detained pending an Oct. 14 trial.