Family Questions Jail Time of Miami man in Medicare Scam

Received an article titled “Miami man gets 15 years in nation's biggest Medicare therapy scam” in which it is reported that “a Miami physician's assistant who was described by his lawyer as a "bit player" in a nearly $200 million mental health scheme to swindle Medicare was sentenced to 15 years in prison on Tuesday.  But it could have been worse for Roger Bergman, 65, of Miami, who was facing up to 25 years under federal sentencing guidelines for his supporting role in the biggest mental-health clinic scam ever orchestrated against the taxpayer-funded Medicare program.  Bergman, convicted in July of a fraud conspiracy, conducted bogus evaluations of hundreds of patients and falsified their records to dupe Medicare into believing they needed the costly therapy services, according to trial evidence.  Bergman is among the last of about 40 defendants who have been convicted in the high-profile criminal case of American Therapeutic Corp. The Miami-based company, with a network of seven clinics, was shuttered in 2010 after collecting about $87 million in Medicare payments for bogus therapy sessions purportedly provided to drug addicts, alcoholics and people suffering from dementia.”

The issue appears to be that the family of Mr. Bergman does not coalesce around his conviction but the time that he received.  This appears strange to me because your breadwinner goes to jail and the only thing you have to complain about id the time that he gets?  The article reports “Outside the courtroom, Bergman's wife, Marcy, said she could not fathom why her husband's former boss, psychiatrist Alberto Ayala, received a 10-year sentence while Bergman got a stiffer prison term. Like Bergman, Ayala was convicted at trial.  "Ayala got 10 years and he was his supervisor," said Marcy, surrounded by her son and other relatives. "This is crazy. I'm not stopping here.”

Okay, somebody please stop me if you have heard this joke before.  The article says that this man received around $90,000 per year salary, that’s close to $7,500 per month.  Now I know that the cost of living in Miami is high but damn, really.  You did not know that what you were doing was wrong, that how you were living was wrong and that you would finally have to pay for that decision in one form or another?  Was the paycheck so nice that the family really didn't care what daddy did or how he came about that money?  That in order to get paid something like that you had to wonder if what you were doing was legal or right.  He must have finally gotten a clue because the article said he left two years before they shut them down.  The truly sad part of all this was what his lawyer said should justify his client getting less time.    Bergman's defense lawyer, Terence Lenamon, argued in court papers that his client is a modest, married man of poor health who was a salaried American Therapeutic employee and did not enjoy the Medicare riches of Duran, Valera and their inner circle of co-conspirators. "Roger was a mere 'bit player' in comparison to the big fish Duran, Valera [and the others]," Lenamon wrote. "Roger was an expendable quantity, whereas the others were necessary participants for the fraudulent [Medicare] scheme."  Lenamon urged the judge to depart from the sentencing guidelines for Bergman's offense, saying they defied common sense. The guidelines put "him in the potential company of murderers, kidnappers, airplane hijackers and people whose conduct is waging war against the United States," Lenamon wrote about the sentencing guidelines.  Throw the book at a crack dealer who you say preys on the weak but give this man a break because his type of preying is different, really?


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