When Guillermo and Gabriel Delgado were charged with selling Medicare patients’ names to a crooked pharmacist, more than 100 relatives and friends showed up to back the brothers’ bid for bail in Miami federal court.
Several of their supporters believed so strongly in their innocence that the friends agreed to help them post a $1 million bond each — despite claims by Justice Department lawyers that the brothers could flee the country.
But a year and a half later, after cutting plea deals, Guillermo and Gabriel Delgado were sentenced just before Christmas to prison terms of nine and four and a half years, respectively.
U.S. District Judge Jose Martinez ordered the brothers to surrender to authorities immediately.
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As part of his sentencing, Gabriel Delgado, 43, was ordered by Martinez to reimburse $9.1 million with other co-conspirators to the taxpayer-funded Medicare program. A restitution hearing for Guillermo Delgado, 45, is scheduled for Feb. 24.
According to court records, the brothers provided “sham” consulting services to Miami-Dade pharmacist Jose Carlos Morales, who paid them about $23,000 a month between 2006 and 2012 for a “guaranteed stream” of Medicare patients so that he could file bogus bills in their names with the government health insurance program.
Federal prosecutor Allan Medina said the pharmacist paid the brothers a total of $1.5 million for the referral of Medicare patients who resided at various assisted-living facilities in Miami-Dade. The prosecutor said the patients used some of the prescription drugs, but that Morales would reclaim their “excess” pills and resell them at his pharmacies.
“The Delgado brothers took great efforts to conceal the kickback scheme with Morales,” according to a statement filed with Gabriel Delgado’s plea agreement.
Morales made the monthly payments through two of the brothers’ Miami companies, Preferred Providers Group and Diversified Investment Group, which then transferred the funds to their other businesses, including home healthcare agencies, pharmacies and restaurants. Both brothers are licensed practical nurses.
Morales had pleaded guilty in 2012, helped investigators target the brothers and was sentenced to 14 years in prison. Morales, 58, is expected to receive a sentence reduction for his assistance.
In his agreement with the Justice Department, Gabriel Delgado pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiring to commit money laundering, while his brother, Guillermo, pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute Oxycodone and other narcotics.
As part of the plea deals, prosecutors dismissed the main charge, conspiracy to pay and receive healthcare kickbacks, along with other offenses, including healthcare fraud.
At the sentencing hearing, the judge granted the prosecutor’s request to give the brothers a slight 15 percent reduction in their prison terms because of their assistance since June in the investigation led by the FBI and Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General.
The brothers’ defense attorney, Joaquin Mendez, said in court papers that they have turned over a new leaf.
“[They] have been and will continue to be thoroughly debriefed about everything and everyone they know,” wrote Mendez, who worked on their defense with attorneys Jane and Norman Moscowitz.
“They have turned over numerous financial and legal documents of significant value to the government” and “have participated in undercover operations.”