Jury selection starts in $1B Florida Medicare fraud case

Associated Press |

MIAMI (AP) — Jury selection is set to begin in the trial of a health care executive accused of defrauding Medicare of $1 billion, one of the nation's biggest such cases.

Jurors chosen beginning Monday will decide the fate of 50-year-old Philip Esformes, who operated a network of 30 nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Florida. Prosecutors say Esformes and other conspirators referred thousands of Medicare patients to their facilities even if they didn't qualify for services.

Esformes is also accused of accepting kickbacks for steering Medicare patients to other health care providers, which then billed the government program for unnecessary services.

Esformes has pleaded not guilty and has been jailed since his 2016 arrest. Two others involved in the scheme have pleaded guilty.

Esformes faces a lengthy prison sentence if convicted.

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