A Miami businessman was sentenced to 50 years in prison on Friday for masterminding a healthcare fraud scheme that sought to bilk the U.S. government out of more than $200 million.
Lawrence Duran, 49, the owner of Miami-based American Therapeutic Corp, was arrested last October on charges that he executed what prosecutors described in court documents as “one of the largest and most brazen healthcare fraud conspiracies in recent memory.”
His prison sentence was believed to be the harshest ever for defrauding Medicare, the federal insurance plan for the elderly and disabled. He also was ordered to pay $87.5 million in restitution.
American Therapeutic was one of the nation’s largest chains of community mental health centers licensed by Medicare.
Prosecutors said the company, operating out of the southeastern city widely viewed by law enforcement officials as the healthcare fraud capital of the United States, billed Medicare for more than $205 million in claims over eight years for mental health services that were either unnecessary or never provided to patients.Twitter