One of the most recent convictions in South Florida related to Medicare fraud involves Karen Kallen-Zury, from Lighthouse Point, the former CEO of the Hollywood Pavilion psychiatric facility, convicted to 25-year prison sentence for Medicare fraud, according to the Miami Herald.
She was also ordered to repay about $40 million to the taxpayer-funded Medicare. Lengthy prison sentences received two other Hollywood Pavilion executives who were convicted along with Kallen-Zury this summer, including a 15-year sentence and a 12-year term.
Although the prison terms were substantial, Justice Department prosecutors asked for even harsher sentences for all three defendants, ranging from 25 to 40 years.
According to the Miami Herald, Justice Department prosecutor Robert Zink called Hollywood Pavilion’s psychiatric hospital “something out of a horror movie,” in which Kallen-Zury led a bribery conspiracy to lure patients to “rooms infected with insects” and then “kicked them to the curb” after their Medicare benefits ran out.
In June, a federal jury found that Kallen-Zury conspired with the other defendants to submit false Medicare claims for $67 million over nearly a decade. The jury also found that Medicare was tricked into paying almost $40 million to Hollywood Pavilion, whose CEO and others covered up the scheme by falsifying the records of ineligible patients and fabricating marketing contracts with patient recruiters. The jury found most of the defendants guilty of conspiracy, healthcare fraud, wire fraud and kickback offenses.
The prosecution of Hollywood Pavilion’s executives was just the latest case against operators of mental health facilities accused of stealing from the Medicare program. And, as you can see, the prison sentences for other convicted operators are severe, ranging from 20 to 50 years.
Under these circumstances, our experienced criminal defense team in Fort Lauderdale warns you about the severity of conspiracy, healthcare fraud, wire fraud and kickback offenses. Whenever you get involved in such situations, the best response is to contact a specialized and experienced criminal defense attorney and ask for legal advice and representation. Our criminal defense team is available to discuss with you possible options and defenses.