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Published on February 22, 2024
Florida Businessman Philip Esformes Pleads Guilty in Massive Medicare Fraud CaseSource: Unsplash/ Tingey Injury Law Firm

In a turn of events that closed a chapter on what has been a dramatic case of Medicare fraud, Philip Esformes, a Florida businessman, entered a guilty plea for his part in a scheme that bilked millions from the Medicare program. The decision came down today in a federal court in Miami, as reported by The Miami Herald, Esformes faced no prison time but was ordered to fork over substantial financial penalties.

Esformes, who formerly oversaw a string of skilled-nursing and assisted-living facilities while based in Miami Beach, betrayed no emotion when the judge let him off the hook for additional prison time. According to NBC DFW, he had already served more than four years following his arrest in July 2016. The jury had deadlocked on a handful of charges during his original 2019 trial, resulting in his sentence being previously commuted by President Donald Trump in late 2020.

As part of his plea agreement, Esformes owned up to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. The Justice Department, in return, dropped five other counts that hung over his head since the jury was undecided on them. Trump's act of clemency during his final days in office had already cancelled Esformes' 20-year prison term but left the 2019 conviction on 20 other criminal counts intact.

The sheer scale of Esformes’ fraud, considered the largest of its kind by the DOJ, involved bribing doctors to funnel patients into his facilities, where they often received shoddy care or underwent unnecessary treatments billed to Medicare and Medicaid. The scheme, which netted Esformes personally more than $37 million, was a splashy affair that included purchases like luxury cars and a pricey $360,000 watch, claimed the DOJ. When originally convicted, a federal prosecutor said of Esformes, "a man driven by almost unbounded greed."

Miami-Crime & Emergencies