Miami man sentenced to 50 years for Medicare fraud

September 16, 2011 - 7:15 PM

MIAMI (AP) — A federal judge has sentenced a Miami man to 50 years in prison for his role in a $205 million Medicare fraud scheme.

Friday's sentence is the longest ever imposed in a Medicare fraud strike force case.

Authorities say 49-year-old Lawrence Duran orchestrated an elaborate scam, forging patient files for mentally ill people to make them appear to qualify for Medicare sleep studies. His now-defunct company, American Therapeutic Corp., also paid the owners of assisted living facilities and halfway houses to round up patients for their seven mental health centers in south and central Florida for therapy sessions that were never held.

A sentencing for co-owner Marianella Valera is scheduled for next week. The two were arrested in a massive bust last fall.

Duran was also ordered to pay more than $87 million in restitution at Friday's sentencing.