Saturday, January 7, 2012

El Paso doc sentenced 25 years for health care fraud

From my hometown:  Dr. Valdez, an El Paso psychiatrist, was sentenced to 25 years in prison for health care fraud.

United States Attorney Robert Pitman announced that in El Paso today, 57-year-old Anthony Francis Valdez was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release in connection with an estimated $42 million fraudulent health care benefit program billing scheme. Valdez, a former physician, was the owner of the Institute of Pain Management with clinics in El Paso and San Antonio.
“Valdez preyed on the most vulnerable members of our society—the poor, the disabled and the elderly. In doing so, he sought to enrich himself by billing health care entitlement programs, such as Medicare, Medicaid and Tri-Care, of more than $42 million during a five-year period for services he did not perform. As a result, Valdez has lost his medical license, his reputation, his property and most of all his freedom. We hope his sentence of 25 years serves as a deterrence to others who would contemplate defrauding these federally funded health care programs,” stated United States Attorney Robert Pitman.
In addition, Senior United States District Judge David Briones ordered that Valdez pay $13,356,645.44 restitution; and, forfeit more than $1.7 million in cash, his residence in El Paso, his residence in San Antonio, as well as five vehicles. Judge Briones also handed down a monetary judgement against Valdez for $9,741,649.
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