The owner of a number of Miami-based assisted living and health care facilities who was arrested in a $1 billion Medicare fraud scheme last year has been slammed with another charge.
This month, health care executive Philip Esformes, 47, had another charge added to his laundry list of other charges. The new charge accuses him of paying thousands of dollars to an employee with the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) to obtain patient complaints and inspection schedules for his facilities, the Miami Herald reports.
The facilities owned by Esformes were known as the Esformes Network. He owned and operated Adar Associates, Eden Gardens LLC, Lauderhill Manor LLC, Flamingo Park Manor LLC and La Serena Retirement Living LLC.
The newest charge—which Herald reporter Jay Weaver describes as “explosive” comes from an incident when Esformes gave $5,000 to a friend to bribe the employee at the AHCA in order to fix certain problems in his facilities before the state showed up. Little did he know, his confidant Gabriel Delgado was working for the other side.
Delgado videotaped the encounter with Esformes to help investigators target him after he and his brother had gotten into legal issues themselves, according to the article.
Esformes has been in jail since July on the charges of conspiracy, obstruction, money laundering and health care fraud.
Almost all of his assets had been temporarily frozen under a judge’s order including 13 real estate properties (including a house renovated into a private basketball facility) in Miami Beach, Miami, Chicago and Los Angeles, a number of bank accounts with $9 million, a Ferrari Aperta sports car and a Grubel Forsey watch, according to the Miami Herald.
The executive also allegedly used the fraud money for stays at the Ritz-Carlton and to pay for a basketball coach for one of his three children.
Esformes has not obtained bail, even with $3 million from supporters including a rabbi from Chicago, where Esformes is originally from.
Prosectors said that Esformes’ $78 million in assets around the country, as well as a plan to help Delgado flee to Israel to avoid trial in 2015, was sufficient enough evidence to prove the defendant’s intent to flee, the article says.
If convicted at trial, he could spend the rest of his life in prison.
Read the full story from the Miami Herald.
Written by Alana Stramowski