PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Two Miami men, accused in a widespread fraud scheme that put a local hospital out of business, will be going to prison.
A federal jury in Jacksonville convicted 62-year-old Jorge Perez and 59-year-old Ricardo Perez last month.
Their company, Empowerhms, bought 18-financially troubled rural hospitals in 8-states including the 25-bed Campbellton-Graceville Hospital, then used them to fraudulently bill insurance companies for lab testing.
They stole approximately $1.4 billion. The men are guilty of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud, five counts of healthcare fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering of proceeds greater than $10,000.
They face up to 100 years in prison on the healthcare fraud counts alone. Their sentencing date has not been set.
Campbellton-Graceville Hospital shut down in 2017 after filing for bankruptcy. Northwest Florida Community Hospital in Chipley reopened it in 2018 as an urgent care clinic.