May 13, 2016
Contact: Brian McNeal
Phone Number: (571) 362-1498
Kentucky Anesthesiologist Sentenced To 8+ Years For Unlawful Distribution Of Controlled Substances, Health Care Fraud And Money Laundering
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Today, anesthesiologist Jaime Guerrero, who had practices in Kentucky and Indiana, was sentenced to 100 months in prison, by United States District Judge Greg N. Stevens. United States Attorney John E. Kuhn Jr. announced today that according to the terms of a prior plea agreement, Guerrero agreed to forfeit his license to practice medicine, and to forfeit real property owned by Guerrero Real Estate Investments, LLC. Further, Guerrero agreed to pay $827,000 in victim restitution to nine health care benefit programs.
Guerrero, 48, formerly a medical physician with offices in Louisville, Kentucky, and Jeffersonville, Indiana, pleaded guilty to 31 counts of a 35 count Superseding Indictment on January 7, 2016, including unlawful distribution or dispensing of controlled substances, health care fraud, conspiracy and money laundering.
Timothy J. Plancon, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’(DEA) Detroit Division, stated, “Addressing the diversion and abuse of controlled substance prescription medications is a top priority of the DEA. In this instance, Jaime Guerrero, formerly an anesthesiologist abused his position of trust and jeopardized the lives of many individuals by dispensing controlled substances to patients without a medical purpose. This sentence should serve as a notice to all medical professionals that if you prescribe medication for personal gain you will be investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
“The prescribing practices of a very few physicians in Kentucky have caused immeasurable harm," stated U.S. Attorney John Kuhn. "Reckless prescribing encourages abuse, creates addicts, and builds the foundation for the scourge of heroin that so many pill addicts turn to. The personal and social costs are no less than tragic. My office will aggressively prosecute doctors like Dr. Guerrero who prescribe narcotics without a legitimate medical purpose. We will seek justice and accountability for the harm they do."
According to the plea agreement, from November 1, 2009, continuing through January 1, 2013, Guerrero conspired with others to knowingly and intentionally distribute and dispense Schedule II and III controlled substances to patients, without a legitimate medical purpose and beyond the bounds of professional medical practice. Beginning November 1, 2009, and continuing through May 8, 2014, Guerrero admitted to distributing and dispensing Schedule II and III controlled substances to (listed in counts 2-26) without a legitimate medical purpose beyond the bounds of professional medical practice. Beginning on or about January 6, 2010, and continuing through September 16, 2011, Guerrero knowingly and intentionally distributed and dispensed, and caused to be distributed and dispensed Hydrocodone, a Schedule III controlled substance, to a patient without a legitimate medical purpose and beyond the bounds of professional medical practice, which resulted in that patient’s death.
Guerrero further pleaded guilty to three counts of health care fraud for fraudulently billing various health care benefit programs and for submitting fraudulent claims for patient health care counseling. Specifically, on May 26, 2011, June 15, 2011, and June 22, 2011, Guerrero saw more than 100 patients on each of the dates, by himself, and spent approximately three minutes or less with each patient, and fraudulently billed various health care benefit programs, for office visits at a higher code than the service provided.
Between July 9, 2010 and July 22, 2010, Guerrero travelled outside of the United States and directed staff personnel to provide group counseling sessions for patients in his absence. The group sessions were then billed as individual counseling sessions, and as if Guerrero personally provided the service.
Additionally, between January 1, 2008, and continuing through June 15, 2012, Guerrero falsely and fraudulently submitted over 100 claims to various health care benefit programs for office visits at a higher code than the service provided; for office visits that were not medically necessary or within the course of usual medical practice; submitting claims for services that were not sufficiently documented in the patient’s medical record; and making claims for office visits as though a physician saw the patient, when in fact, a nurse practitioner saw the patient. Guerrero agreed to pay $827,000 in victim restitution to nine health care benefit programs
Finally, Guerrero pleaded guilty to a single money laundering charge for (paying the taxes) on a building located at 1201 West Wall Street in Jeffersonville, Indiana, with $89,556.25 in cash derived from unlawful activity - the unlawful dispensing and distribution of controlled substances and health care fraud.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Joseph Ansari and Lettricea Jefferson-Webb and was investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement (DEA), the Federal Bureau of (FBI), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services-Office of Inspector (HHS-OIG), Indiana and Kentucky Medicaid Fraud Control Units, and Louisville Metro Police (LMPD).