Woman Gets 35-Year Prison Sentence in $200 Million Medicare Fraud

Owner of Miami mental health care company sentenced in scheme

The owner of a Miami-area mental health care company will be spending the next 35 years behind bars after she was sentenced in a $205 million Medicare fraud scheme, the U.S. Attorney's Office said Friday.

Judith Negron, 40, was sentenced Thursday by U.S. District Judge James Lawrence King, who also ordered her to pay over $87 million in restitution.

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 found guilty of 24 felony counts in August, including conspiracy to commit health care fraud, health care fraud, conspiracy to pay and receive illegal health care kickbacks, conspiracy to commit money laundering, money laundering and structuring to avoid reporting requirements.

Duran and Valera were also found guilty and sentenced in September to 50 and 35 years, respectively, for their roles in the scheme.

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