Fraud – Health Care



A Miami woman sentenced to serve 35 years in prison for Medicare fraud had her sentenced commuted by President Donald Trump.

Judith Negron, 48, was among the 11 federal inmates Trump announced pardons and commutations for Tuesday, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

Negron was sent to prison for her part in a $205 million fraud case in what was then the country’s biggest mental health billing scheme, according to the report.

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Negron, the owner of a Miami mental health care company, American Therapeutic Corporation, was the only defendant in the case who refused a plea deal and went to trial. A federal jury convicted her in August 2011 on 24 counts of conspiracy, fraud, paying kickbacks and money laundering.

Prosecutors said the company submitted more than $205 million in fraudulent claims to Medicare.

Negron served eight years of her 35-year sentence at a federal prison in central Florida. Her family told the Associated Press they were waiting to hear when she would be released from the Coleman Federal Correctional Complex.

Negron’s husband, Hector Negron, told the AP a clemency advocate put his wife’s case on Trump’s radar, and she was among the high-profile cases whose sentences were commuted Tuesday.

Federal prosecutors said Judith Negron and two co-defendants paid bribes and kickbacks to owners and operators of assisted living facilities and halfway houses, as well as patient brokers, in exchange for sending ineligible patients to their mental health facilities.

Throughout her trial, Negron maintained she was unaware of the billing scheme. “She has steadfastly insisted on her own integrity,” Bill Norris, the attorney who had tried unsuccessfully to appeal her sentence, told the Tampa Bay Times. “Integrity is a little more complicated than innocence or guilt.”

Co-owners of American Therapeutic Corporation, Lawrence Duran and Marianella Valera, pleaded guilty to the charges against them and were sentenced to 50 years and 35 years in prison, respectively.