HOUSTON – A 58-year-old Richmond resident was sentenced to 25 years in prison after convicting conspiracy and aiding and abetting health fraud, acting US attorney Jennifer B. Lowery announced.

A Houston jury pronounced guilty verdicts against Brenda Rodriguez in January 2019 after a three-day trial.

Today, US District Judge Lynn H. Hughes ordered her to serve a total of 300 months in federal prison, followed immediately by a three-year custodial release. At the hearing, the court heard additional evidence of their role in the system. In delivering the verdict, the court found that Rodriguez was responsible for all of the loss the system caused to taxpayers as part of a larger conspiracy.

Brenda Rodriguez owned and operated the QC Medical Clinic in Richmond.

During the trial, the jury heard that Rodriguez was paying doctors to admit patients to home health care regardless of whether it was medically necessary. Rodriguez then sold these approvals to various corrupt home health care providers. These providers then billed Medicare for services that were either unnecessary or never performed.

During the trial, the jury was able to watch videos of the fraud committed in Rodriguez’s clinic. Prospective clients were given brief exams, often by unlicensed individuals posing as doctors, and then quickly approved for unnecessary medical services.

As a result of the investigation and prosecution, several other doctors and administrators have also been convicted of crimes ranging from Medicare scams to paying setbacks.

Ultimately, providers billed Medicare over $ 11 million for the patients provided by Rodriguez.

Rodriguez was allowed to remain in custody and volunteer to surrender to a US Bureau of Prisons facility that was to be established in the near future.

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) – Bureau of the Inspector General and the FBI conducted the investigation. US assistant attorneys Tina Ansari and Thomas Carter were pursuing the case, along with trial attorney Scott Armstrong from the Fraud Department in the Department of Justice’s Criminal Investigation Department.

The fraud department heads the Medicare Fraud Strike Force. Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, which maintains 15 strike forces in 24 districts, has indicted more than 4,200 defendants who billed the Medicare program a total of nearly $ 19 billion. In addition, the DHHS Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, in partnership with DHHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and reduce the presence of fraudulent providers.