|Mr. Lawrence Duran - Sentenced to 50 Years|
After a 3-day sentencing hearing, Miami resident Lawrence Duran, the owner of a mental health care company, American Therapeutic Corporation (ATC), was sentenced on September 16, 2011 to 50 years in prison by U.S. District Judge James Lawrence King in the Southern District of Florida. This case arose from an alleged $205 million Medicare fraud scheme by a chain of Miami-based mental health clinics.
Judge King ordered Mr. Duran to pay more than $87 million in restitution, jointly and severally with his co-defendants. Mr. Duran was also sentenced to three years of supervised release following his prison term. Mr. Duran’s lawyer, Lawrence Metsch, urged the judge to be realistic and give him a sentence between 20 and 25 years, arguing that 50 years means a “death sentence because he would die in prison.” But Judge King sided with the government’s push for the extraordinarily high sentence, saying there is a “critical need for deterrence against healthcare fraud” in South Florida, the nation’s capital of Medicare corruption.
Previously, the highest Medicare fraud sentence was 30 years — given in 2008 to a Miami physician, Ana Alvarez-Jacinto, convicted in an HIV-therapy scheme.
35 year sentence for Ms. Valera. On September 19, 2011, Judge King sentenced co-defendant, Marianella Valera, the other owner of ATC and Mr. Duran's girlfriend, to 35 years in prison and ordered her to pay the $87 million in restitution, jointly and severally. This was another long sentence. Miami judges, who were known for long sentences in large drug cases are not treating Medicare fraud cases any differently. Thus, where a defendant is charged can determine his or sentence or exposure to a sentence if they do not win at trial.