This was a big deal: a $200 Million Medicare Fraud operation where around 40 people have been sentenced to prison time for doing things like submitting false invoices to Medicare for mental health services that never happened.

This week, a federal jury came back with a verdict on the last 2 defendants in this big Department of Justice investigation into this South Florida Medicare Fraud enterprise involving seven American Therapeutic Clinics scattered in different cities and lots of players.

The big guns have already been dealt with by the justice system and are behind bars.

Terence Lenamon represented one of the last two defendants in the sting — Roger Bergman, a 65 year old physician’s assistant, and Mr. Bergman was found guilty by the jury this week. Bergman and his co-defendant, a 55 year old patient recruiter named Rodolfo Santaya, will be sentenced by a federal judge at a sentencing hearing in the future.

SInce this is an ongoing case, Terry Lenamon’s position on Mr. Bergman’s situation in this complicated, immense fraud can best be described by language taken from Terry Lenamon’s Closing Statement in the trial (p. 1242):

Because what’s really going on here is Roger Bergman is a physician’s assistant trying to make a living. And when he’s working day in and day out, he’s not thinking about committing Medicare fraud or falsifying information, he’s thinking about, you know, my car broke down this morning and I may not be able to make it in. And I got to make up for those files so I can dictate those files because what I do is very simple. This is what Roger Bergman does.

And don’t let the government fool you about his responsibility. He’s a physician’s assistant. He takes the place of a physician legally. He interviews them. He does two things. He does a note and he does an initial evaluation. He gets paid $30 for the initial evaluation and $15 for a note. It may take him five minutes to do a note, it may take him ten, it may take him 15 to do an initial evaluation, it may take him 20.
But when he is done, he writes it on a yellow pad. Those yellow pads are kept, were kept and destroyed by the government. And then he dictates that information and it’s supposed to be madeinto a chart. …

Prediction: Win on appeal.

 

This Sunday, May 11, 2014, Dateline NBC will show its latest crime investigation episode, "Mystery in South Beach," which covers the recent trial (and guilty verdict) for Michel Escoto.

Terence Lenamon, as stand-by counsel and later full-on defense counsel (Terry Lenamon gave the closing arguments), was interviewed for this episode.

Watch the show as it first appears on Sunday, or catch it later online at the Dateline NBC website.

 

 

 

 

 

We’ve covered the case of the West Memphis Three here on the blog in a series of posts going back over the years and in the past month, we’ve had several posts urging people to see the documentary based upon this Death Row case out of Arkansas, "West of Memphis."  No need to go back over those details here. 

Today, Terry Lenamon shares with you his thoughts on this documentary, which he has already seen in an advanced screening up at the New York Law School.  The film is scheduled for a national release in late December.  Please go see it.

Now, from Terence Lenamon, his personal thoughts on this film:

________________

 

In a perfect world each of us has a guardian angel.  

Damien Echol’s angel is Lorri Davis.

Without her, Damien would have been a casualty of a flawed and imperfect justice system. He would clearly have been executed.  An innocent man — a mere eighteen years old at the time of his sentence of death, and destined to be dead at the hands of the Arkansas justice system .

Tragedy passing at the expense of fear- driven justice, the new documentary “West of Memphis” tells that story.  I think that Amy Berg (Director), Peter Jackson, (Producer) and Damien Echols should provide this movie to every Judge, Prosecutor and Defense Attorney as a roadmap on both what should and should not be done in capital cases.  

Peter Jackson and Amy Berg do a wonderful job taking us on this long journey that begins with the horrific murder of three young boys and ends in the release of three innocent men almost two decades later.

It is an emotional roller coaster that highlights bad lawyering, overzealous law enforcement, a fear driven community bent on justice, good lawyering, and a very expensive, resource driven defense team that proves money does make a difference.

Both Dennis Riordan and Stephan Braga do a wonderful job at laying the foundation to obtain the release of these men. Barry Scheck lends a hand in helping create law related to DNA testing in Clintonville.

Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh selflessly provide a piece of their $300 million dollar net worth to sharpen the defense attack on injustice with the likes of Eddie Vedder, Johnny Depp, and company dirtying their hands in the face of controversy, never veering from the pursuit of justice.

In all, this deeply touching, yet frightening examination of a broken system, makes clear one undisputable point: when you mix the taking of a life by a justice system with imperfect human fragilities, you can expect nothing less than tragedy.  

For those who practice in my world let us not forget that Death is Different. Let us not forget.

          — Terry Lenamon | November 24, 2012

 

Terry Lenamon is currently in trial defending another high profile defendant, Joshua Fulgham, who is accused of killing his wife Heather Strong (read the Wikipedia article on her murder here).  The trial is taking place in Marion County, Florida.

For blog readers who follow Terry’s trial work, here are some links to the day’s activities (as this post is being published, they are still in the middle of jury selection).

Jury Selection Photo Series (Ocala.com)

Gaineville Sun trial coverage

Joshua Fulgham faces the death penalty for the death of his wife Heather Strong, having been charged with first-degree murder and kidnapping.  Fulgham’s girlfriend, Emilia Carr, has already been tried and convicted and is now setting on Florida’s Death Row. 

If you are interested in criminal defense / true crime cases, then you might want to read Terry’s memoir or "casebook" that covers almost a dozen of his past defense cases where his clients faced the penalty of death.  For more info on the book or to buy it as an ebook or paperback, just click on the link there in the left sidebar.