Prison sentence in Medicare fraud conviction is excessive, court rules

A federal appeals court has found that a 68-month prison term for a provider convicted of Medicare fraud is too excessive.

Home health administrator Annilet Dominguez pleaded guilty last June to taking part in a $6.2 million Medicare fraud scheme. Dominguez gave kickbacks to recruiters in exchange for Medicare beneficiary identities, according to court testimony. She was accused of submitting false claims for home health services using false patient records. Authorities say the scheme lasted from 2008 to February 2014.

Dominguez did not have an ownership stake in the Miami-based Professional Medical Home Health, the defunct provider that submitted the fraudulent Medicare claims. However, she was sentenced to 68 months in prison in September 2014. Other co-defendants received sentences ranging from two to 10 years.

In overturning Dominguez's original sentence last week, the appellate court found that she did not have sufficient control over the conduct of co-conspirators The court ruled that a defendant's conduct, rather than their title, should determine whether sentence enhancements for leadership roles are required.

The case will return to trial court for Dominguez's resentencing.