Thursday, December 3, 2009

Miami Man Arrested for Obstructing a Health Care Fraud Investigation: Bail Condition Set Of Not Working In Health Care Industry While Charges Pending

On December 1 2009, Luis A. Baez of Miami was arrested and charged with obstruction of a health care fraud investigation in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1518. The Indictment charging him was also unsealed.

An Indictment is only an accusation is not evidence of guilt. Mr. Baez is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

According to the Indictment, statements made in court, and documents filed in court, in January 2007, Mr. Baez allegedly told an FBI Special Agent who was conducting an investigation involving Med-Pro of Miami, Inc., that he had no knowledge of an entity known as the L. Baez Corporation or activities associated with the L. Baez Corporation. Mr. Baez allegedly knew this information was false.

The Med-Pro investigation ultimately resulted in several indictments and convictions of various individuals for health care fraud and money laundering schemes involving millions of dollars in fraudulent reimbursement claims submitted to Medicare. According to documents filed in one of the Med-Pro cases, the L. Baez corporation was used in connection with laundering proceeds of health care fraud.

At Mr. Baez's initial appearance in court, it was reported that Mr. Baez had been working at two local hospitals up until the time of his arrest. Mr. Baez’s bond was set at $50,000. As a condition of his bond, Mr. Baez is prohibited from working in the health care industry while charges are pending. Mr. Baez faces up to five years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000 if convicted.

Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida at or

Attorney Commentary: The lessons to be learned from this arrest and bail setting are two-fold. First, being interviewed by the government when you are going to be less than truthful is a terrible idea to be avoided at all costs. If an interview is in your best interest, you must have an attorney with whom you have been completely truthful so an objective person can evaluate whether or not you should be interviewed and whether or not you can be truthful by an objective standard. At that point, the attorney can negotiate the proffer with the prosecution or investigating agency.

If you are not truthful, you will either (1) be charged separately with obstruction of justice or (2) if other charges are filed against you, at sentencing in federal court there could be an upward adjustment for obstruction of justice. In addition, if the prosecution was considering not charging you and using you as a witness, your lies to the FBI agent, OIG special agent or other law enforcement official could result in your being charged since your lies could render you useless as a witness. Assume that the government investigators know much more than you think and that a good portion of your interview will essentially be a lie detector test to determine if you are being truthful.

Second, it is becoming more common for the condition of not working in the health care industry to be a condition of bail in federal cases. I will probably become more common in state cases. This condition should be anticipated before the initial appearance and if there are ways to differentiate your work (especially if it does not involve billing government programs) this should be brought forth to the government and there should be an effort to resolve this bail issue before the court appearance. I have seen in court the prosecution ask for this condition and the defense attorney and defendant are caught off-guard and without any ability to offer other work alternatives or the idea of having pretrial services supervise or approve the work position.

Any questions or comments should be directed to: Tracy Green is a principal at Green & Associates in Los Angeles, California. They focus their practice on the representation of licensed professionals, individuals and businesses in civil, business, administrative and criminal proceedings. They have a specialty in representing licensed health care providers. Their website is:


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