A Judge in Miami has sentenced two former officers of a Miami based mental health therapy company to 50 ane 35 years in prison; making the sentences two of the largest ever for Medicare Fraud. The sentences reflect a trend of increasingly strong punishment for Medicare Fraud; however it also may reflect how treacherous guilty pleas can be in federal court.
In this case, the two defendants pled guilty without a trial and without a plea agreement with the government. In federal criminal prosecutions, defendants who plead guilty generally do so through plea agreements with prosecutors. However, there are occasions where such an agreement waives appeal rights or commits a defendant to agree to facts they may not be comfortable with, including in many cases, the level of involvement in the crime or the amount of money at issue.