Florida businessman gets 20 years in $1B Medicare fraud

FILE - In this Aug. 7, 2015 file photo, Philip Esformes arrives at the 15th Annual Harold and Carole Pump Foundation Gala held at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza, in Los Angeles. The Florida health care executive is facing sentencing following his conviction on 20 criminal charges in what prosecutors described as a $1 billion Medicare fraud scheme. A Miami federal judge Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019, is set to sentence 50-year-old Esformes in one of the biggest such cases in U.S. history.

MIAMI (AP) — A Florida health care executive has been sentenced to 20 years in prison after his conviction on 20 counts in what prosecutors described as a $1 billion Medicare fraud scheme.

A Miami federal judge imposed the sentence Thursday on Philip Esformes in one of the biggest such cases in U.S. history. Prosecutors had sought a 30-year prison term, while Esformes' lawyers wanted leniency.

The wealthy Miami Beach businessman operated a network of nursing homes and assisted living facilities in South Florida that jurors found used kickbacks and bribes to gain business.

A former Ivy League basketball coach testified Esformes bribed him to get his son into school. Esformes was also convicted of charges of obstruction of justice, for plotting to help one of his co-conspirators flee to another country.

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