Inspections, Compliance, Enforcement, and Criminal Investigations
June 14, 2012: Two Doctors Guilty of Health Care Fraud
SAN JUAN, P.R. – United States District Court Judge Carmen C. Cerezo sentenced doctors Geraldo Castro-Betances and Julio Castro-Cruz to 61 months and 27 months imprisonment respectively for health care fraud in relation to the fraudulent scheme to obtain medical licenses from the Puerto Rico Medical Examiners Board (TEM), announced U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico, Rosa Emilia Rodríguez Vélez. These defendants were found guilty after a three months trial. Criminal Division Chief José Ruiz Santiago and Assistant United States Attorney Julia Díaz Rex were in charge of the prosecution of this case.
The judge sentenced defendant Geraldo Castro-Betances and found that he fraudulently obtained his medical license and was fraudulently practicing as a pediatrician with different companies/groups in Puerto Rico. He was also found guilty for aggravated identity theft charges. Castro-Betances was sentenced to 61 months imprisonment, a fine of $20,000, three years of supervised release and 400 hours of community service.
Julio Castro-Cruz was a doctor without a legal license working at the Department of Corrections in Puerto Rico. He was sentenced to 27 months imprisonment for health care fraud, three years of supervised release and 300 hours of community service.
“These defendants were not legally authorized to practice medicine in Puerto Rico because they obtained their medical license by fraudulent means and thus, never passed the revalidation exam,” said US Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez. “Our office applauds the hard work of the Department of Justice and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in bringing about this successful conclusion by aggressively pursuing and prosecuting those who committed fraud against our healthcare programs and the patients who trusted their lives to these doctors without knowing they were illegally practicing medicine.”
The next TEM jury trial is scheduled to start on July 17, 2012. Ten doctors will face trial before Judge Cerezo.