After three years, the case of former long-term care mogul Philip Esformes has ended with a financial penalty that matches the personal level of enrichment gained in a massive fraud scheme.
In late November, a federal judge ordered Esformes to pay $44.2 million for his role in a $1.3 billion bribery, kickback and money-laundering scheme he ran through his network of nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Florida.
Esformes must now forfeit $38.7 million — the amount he personally pocketed from his bad acts.
Judge Robert N. Scola Jr. disagreed with prosecutors on their restitution request. Prior to Esformes’ September sentencing, they sought another $207 million payable to Medicare and Medicaid. Scola, acting for the U.S. Southern District of Florida, questioned the prosecution’s high calculations and found the program’s loss between $4.9 million and $8.3 million. He ordered Esformes to pay $5.5 million.
A jury previously found Esformes guilty on 20 charges connected to 18 years’ worth of bribery, money laundering and paying and receiving kickbacks.
He was first charged in 2016. Several of his healthcare associates pleaded guilty to related Medicare fraud charges and some ultimately testified against him.
The case also spun off its share of mini-scandals. An employee of Florida’s public healthcare agency was charged with tipping Esformes off to complaints and upcoming surveys, an NBA coach admitted to helping Esformes buy his son into college, and a judge scolded prosecutors for alleged misconduct in how they handled key evidence.
The judge said in November that he gave Esformes a lighter jail sentence — 20 years — in anticipation of a “significant financial penalty.” Esformes currently is being held at the low-security FCI Miami prison with a projected release date of August 2033. He must also pay an additional $617,000 toward incarceration costs.