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 the latest federal crackdown against operators of mental-health facilities accused of bilking the vulnerable Medicare program by charging for the purported treatment of mostly alcoholic and drug-addicted patients who did not need the therapy or receive it. The prison sentences for convicted operators in other cases ranged from 20 to 50 years, so the odds against Kallen-Zury were particularly daunting.
“In this case, the fraud scheme is a derivative of a larger crime — the exploitation of human beings to obtain unfettered access to their taxpayer-funded, government-administered insurance benefits, all for personal gain,” Zink wrote in a court filing. “Kallen-Zury was the mastermind.”
At trial, Kallen-Zury was convicted of conspiring with Miller to file false Medicare claims. But Miller, who was represented by attorney Daniel Rodriguez, told the judge that she “never knew anything criminal was going on at Hollywood Pavilion.”
“If anyone was hurt, I am truly, truly sorry,” said a sobbing Miller, who is a state-licensed social worker.
Kallen-Zury was also convicted of conspiring with Coloma to pay $1 million in bribes to recruiters to supply Medicare patients from South Florida and out of state to Hollywood Pavilion — a scheme that Justice Department prosecutor Andrew Warren called a “linchpin” of the overall healthcare fraud.
Coloma’s defense attorney, Ronald Gainor, accused the government of “demonizing” his client.
A fourth defendant, Michele Petrie, 64, former director of Hollywood Pavilion’s outpatient facility, was found guilty of conspiracy and healthcare fraud. But she was also the only defendant acquitted of any charges, namely two wire-fraud counts.
Petrie’s sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 18.
The Hollywood Pavilion case, bolstered by Tamarac psychiatrist Alan Gumer and other cooperating witnesses convicted in similar mental-health fraud schemes in South Florida, was investigated by agents with the FBI and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General.