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The thrust of the allegation was that Helio Castroneves and his sister, Katiucia Castroneves, with the help of Mr. Miller, used a Panamanian corporation to conceal taxable income earned in the United States. The highly contentious and publicized case included intense pre-trial litigation and culminated in a seven-week trial. All defendants were found innocent. Specifically, Alan Miller was acquitted on the main conspiracy charge and three other tax evasion counts.
Represented Oscar Rivero against charges that arose out of The Miami Herald’s year-long series of stories highlighting problems in Miami-Dade’s affordable housing department. Mr. Rivero received $3 million from the Miami-Dade County Housing Agency, the City of Miami and the County to fund several affordable housing projects. Due to construction and financing delays, the housing projects were not built. Mr. Rivero was arrested weeks after The Miami Herald published the articles that exposed widespread misspending at the Miami-Dade County Housing Agency and that Mr. Rivero had used part of the money temporarily to purchase a personal home.
Prosecutors charged Mr. Rivero with two first degree felonies, grand theft and committing an organized scheme to defraud. Handled multi-language media battle that accompanied defense of Mr. Rivero. Coordinated Mr. Rivero’s return of $1,500,000 to the City of Miami and Miami- Dade County. Also negotiated the dismissal of one of the first degree felony charges against Mr. Rivero and a sentence at the bottom of the sentencing guidelines.
Represented Marc Jurman, who was among a group of more than a dozen individuals charged with massive insider trading schemes, bribery schemes and related misconduct by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and the Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington, D.C. The SEC claimed the defendants sold and traded insider information obtained from two major Wall Street brokerage firms, which resulted in thousands of illegal trades and millions of dollars in illicit profits. SEC Enforcement Director Linda C. Thomsen described the charges in this case as “one of the most pervasive Wall Street insider trading rings since the days of Ivan Boesky and Dannie Levine.”
According to authorities, Mr. Jurman received information from Randi Collotta, an attorney in Morgan Stanley’s global compliance division, and traded on the information. Mr. Jurman pled guilty to conspiracy and securities fraud. The Department of Justice had increased its prosecution of insider trading to deter others, and was getting lengthy sentences for defendants. Despite this escalating trend, successfully argued for a probationary sentence for Mr. Jurman in the Southern District of Florida and a resolution of the SEC civil matter with no additional fines or penalties.
Defended Dr. Jerry Spiegel against allegations of Medicare fraud. Dr. Spiegel was the co-owner and medical director of several clinics that provided medically unnecessary treatments and/or billed for treatments that were never provided to HIV patients. Dr. Spiegel essentially “rented out” his signature by signing off on medical charts but not seeing patients at the clinics. Dr. Spiegel was also paid a salary in connection with his work at the clinics.
After several months of negotiating with the government, a plea deal was struck that allowed Dr. Spiegel to argue any factors and for any sentence that he wished at sentencing. Dr. Spiegel’s codefendant, who was the co-owner and operator of one of the clinics, received an above- Guidelines sentence after pleading guilty. However, following the submission of a comprehensive sentencing memorandum and 4 hour sentencing hearing, Dr. Spiegel received a below-Guidelines sentence.
Defended Luis Garcia Higgins against charges of Medicare fraud. Mr. Garcia Higgins was a full time employee at the Federal Detention Center in Miami. In addition, Mr. Garcia Higgins was practicing as a physician’s assistant in a clinic that specialized in providing treatment for HIV infected patients. According to the indictment, Mr. Garcia Higgins participated in a scheme to defraud Medicare of millions of dollars. This scheme involved making fraudulent Medicare claims for medical treatments that were either medically unnecessary, that were not provided, or were not provided as claimed.
Mr. Garcia Higgins faced 20 years of imprisonment, if found guilty. Although quite difficult, negotiated a reduced loss amount and cooperation agreement with the government. As a result, Mr. Garcia Higgins pled guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud and received a significantly reduced sentence of 20 months imprisonment followed by supervised release.
Health care fraud is an area of great priority for the Southern District and this is only one of a number of health care fraud cases recently handled.