A woman who served nearly a decade behind bars for her role in a health care and money laundering scheme returned to Miami-Dade County early Wednesday morning.
President Donald Trump on Tuesday commuted the prison sentence of Judith Negron, who was serving time for her role in a $205 million Medicare fraud scheme back in 2011.
Negron, now 48, was found guilty of numerous felony counts as one of the owners of mental health care company American Therapeutic Corporation. She was also ordered to pay over $87 million in restitution.
"There's no words to describe what I feel right now," Negron said exclusively with NBC 6's Nathalia Ortiz. "I've always had that hope that something could come about, but today I didn't expect what took place."
Negron was released from prison late Tuesday night, and her family went to Sumter County to pick her up.
"She made it, and again, I say thank you to the president for this great opportunity that he gave me," said her husband, Hector, Tuesday afternoon from their South Florida home. "I get my family back, my wife back - my kids are so happy."
A statement from the White House says Negron served eight years of her 35-year sentence, with a warden saying she has "always shown herself to be a model inmate who works extremely well with others and has established a good working relationship with staff and inmates."
Criminal justice reform advocate Alice Johnson, whose life sentence for a first-time drug offense was commuted thanks in part to the efforts of Kim Kardashian, was one of the many who supported Negron's clemency.
"The president made a commitment ... that to work with on clemency, so I've been pushing some out," Johnson said in a phone interview. "Judith is an incredible woman."
Negron's attorney, Barry Wax, told NBC 6 that Johnson was in the same prison as Negron and asked Trump personally to do something for her.
"This is one of the few cases that actually keeps me up at night," Wax said. "Even 10 years later, I wake up in the middle of the night and I think about Judith Negron and where she is and how her life is going. I know she is a strong woman, but I’ve been praying for 10 years for this day to come, and it’s finally here."
In a Change.org petition, Negron says she takes full responsibility for her involvement in the scheme but is begging for clemency for the sake of her two sons.
Negron, along with two other owners and executives with American Therapeutic Corporation, was arrested in October 2010 in the scheme that prosecutors said billed Medicare for mental health treatments that patients didn't need.
Prosecutors said dating back to 2002, Negron and fellow owners Lawrence S. Duran and Marianella Valera paid bribes and kickbacks to owners and operators of assisted living facilities and halfway houses and to patient brokers in exchange for delivering ineligible patients to their facilities.
Negron was one of the four people Trump granted commutations to, including former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. He also granted full pardons to seven people, including former NYPD commissioner Bernie Kerik and financier Michael Milken.