Justice Department prosecutors informed a federal court judge on Monday of their intentions to retry convicted former Florida assisted living and skilled nursing facility owner Philip Esformes on the main healthcare fraud conspiracy charge from his first federal court trial in 2019, according to the Miami Herald.
Esformes was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2019 for his role in a case the federal government described as “the largest healthcare fraud scheme charged by the U.S. Justice Department.” He was found guilty of more than 20 charges of money laundering, paying and receiving kickbacks, bribery and obstruction of justice in the $1 billion case.
The jury, however, did not reach a verdict on the main count that Esformes had conspired to defraud the Medicare program. Prosecutors also intend to retry Esformes on five additional deadlocked counts. Esformes has been appealing the 2019 sentence. An amicus brief filed in September 2020 on his behalf by former U.S. Department of Justice officials seeks to have the indictment that led to his conviction dismissed with prejudice (permanently).
Federal prosecutors plan to move forward with the retrial after Esformes exhausts his appeals before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit on his 2019 convictions.
Esformes’ prison sentence was commuted by former President Donald Trump in December. The commutation left intact other aspects of Esformes’ sentence, including supervised release and restitution.
Esformes is still appealing $43 million in financial penalties stemming from his conviction. He still owes about $5.3 million in restitution and must forfeit $38 million. His attorney is fighting to dismiss these penalties, which were not part of the clemency order.
The Miami Herald reported that U.S. District Judge Robert Scola set a bond hearing for next month and will consider a new trial date early next year.
Esformes was accused of providing access to assisted living residents “for any healthcare provider willing to pay a kickback,” including pharmacies, home health agencies, physician groups, therapy companies, partial hospitalization programs, laboratories and diagnostic companies. Many of the services paid for were not medically necessary or were never provided, according to the federal government.