Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Sosa: Affirming Health Care Fraud Convictions and Sentences

In U.S. v. Sosa, No. 13-13171 (Feb. 2, 2015), the Court affirmed the convictions and sentences of defendants charged with health care fraud. The Court rejected all challenges to the sufficiency of the evidence, citing evidence that Sosa personally transported fake patients to the clinic in which he had invested, to purportedly obtain injections for which the clinic was reimbursed by Medicare. The Court also rejected the plain error challenges to the prosecutor’s vouching and other statements during closing argument, finding the statements, taken in context, not to create reversible error. The Court acknowledged that the prosecutor’s statement in closing argument that “I did my job” was error, but harmless in light of the evidence of guilt. Turning to the sentence, the Court affirmed the imposition of a “managerial role” enhancement, pointing to evidence that Sosa drove patients to the clinic. The Court also rejected Sosa’s challenge to the “sophisticated means” enhancement, finding that patients were paid in a “surreptitious manner,” and injected the patients with inexpensive products.