Florida businessman gets 20 years in $1B Medicare fraud

Posted at 9:34 AM, Sep 12, 2019

MIAMI (AP) — A Florida health care executive has been sentenced to 20 years in prison after his conviction on 20 counts in what prosecutors described as a $1 billion Medicare fraud scheme.

A Miami federal judge imposed the sentence Thursday on Philip Esformes in one of the biggest such cases in U.S. history. Prosecutors had sought a 30-year prison term, while Esformes' lawyers wanted leniency.

The wealthy Miami Beach businessman operated a network of nursing homes and assisted living facilities in South Florida that jurors found used kickbacks and bribes to gain business.

A former Ivy League basketball coach testified Esformes bribed him to get his son into school. Esformes was also convicted of charges of obstruction of justice, for plotting to help one of his co-conspirators flee to another country.