Miami Man Who Used Durable Medical Equipment Company as Front for Health Care Fraud Sentenced to Seven Years in Federal Prison
(STL.News) Yesterday, a federal district judge in Miami sentenced 42-year-old Daniel Pintado Cazola to 87 months in prison for his role in using a durable medical equipment company to commit Medicare and Medicaid fraud, and trying to conceal his connection to the crime by listing a straw owner in corporate and bank records.
Earlier this year, Pintado Cazola pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, wire fraud, and mail fraud, and one count of aggravated identity theft.
Myers Professional Services was established as a durable medical equipment (DME) company in Ft. Myers, Florida. To conceal Pintado’s role as the true owner who exercised control over the DME company (and the fraud), a nominee or “straw” owner was listed as the owner of Myers Professional Services on its corporate records and bank account.
As part of his guilty plea, Pintado admitted that he – and not a straw owner — purchased lists of Medicare “patients” and then directed a “biller” to submit fraudulent claims to Medicare for durable medical equipment that was not being prescribed by a doctor, that was not medically necessary, and that was not being supplied to any Medicare beneficiary or Medicaid recipient. During a three-month period — from November 2021 and February 2022 – and under Pintado’s direction, Myers Professional Services submitted over $2.3 million in fraudulent claims to Medicare and Medicaid.
The DME company was paid over $1.6 million through February 2022, when Pintado was arrested. The proceeds of the fraud were transferred from the Myers Professional Services account to accounts held in the names of shell companies. Then, those proceeds were withdrawn from the shell company accounts by others so that it could not be traced to Pintado.
Juan Antonio Gonzalez, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Omar Pérez Aybar, Special Agent in Charge, Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), Miami Region announced the sentenced imposed by U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom.
“The sentence imposed in this case reflects the seriousness of the defendant’s conduct,” said U.S. Attorney Gonzalez. “This Office will not relent in holding accountable those who steal from government programs that provide health care to the most vulnerable in our society.”
“The magnitude of Mr. Pintado’s criminal behavior, literally, knew no bounds,” said Special Agent in Charge Pérez-Aybar. “His ability to deceptively pilfer the Medicare trust fund meant to protect our most vulnerable population came to an abrupt halt because of the relentless efforts of our agents and prosecutors that continue to bring to justice those that defraud our nation’s health care programs.”
HHS-OIG Miami investigated the case. The prosecution was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Aimee C. Jimenez. Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua Paster handled asset forfeiture.
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