On Wednesday, December 7, 2022, U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg refused to dismiss a $400 million healthcare kickback case due to alleged speedy trial violations.
Judge Totenberg explained that several factors played into the nearly six-year pendency of the case, including the coronavirus pandemic, transfer from the Southern District of Florida in 2017, and the complex nature of the case. In fact, Judge Totenberg said that the “matter is one of the most complex criminal cases that the undersigned has encountered.” Further, the Florida judge who transferred the case had previously determined that the complexity of the case justified its exclusion from the Speedy Trial Act and had no expiration date.
Defendants John Holland, William Moore, and Edmundo Cota are former health executives who are accused of orchestrating a $400 million kickback scheme for the treatment of pregnant, mostly undocumented Hispanic women. The three defendants are accused of fraudulently billing federal health care programs for at least $400 million and fraudulently receiving at least $127 million on claims.
Judge Totenberg ruled that the defendants have only been moderately prejudiced by the delay, including the fact that some of the defendants’ witnesses are now unavailable to testify. However, the description of this testimony is not crucial to their defense, Judge Totenberg ruled.
The federal government’s investigation of the alleged kickbacks began in 2001, including a guilty plea and settlement with Tenet Healthcare, where Holland and Moore were executives. Holland was indicted in Florida in 2017, and Moore and Cota were added as co-defendants after the case was transferred to the Northern District of Georgia. Trial is set for April 2023 in Atlanta.
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