(CN) - A former Texas doctor was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison for his role in a $42 million health care fraud, the U.S. Attorney's Office in El Paso said.
Dr. Anthony Valdez, 57, owned the Institute of Pain Management, which had clinics in El Paso and San Antonio.
"Valdez preyed on the most vulnerable members of our society-the poor, the disabled and the elderly. In doing so, he sought to enrich himself by billing health care entitlement programs, such as Medicare, Medicaid and Tri-Care, of more than $42 million during a five-year period for services he did not perform," U.S. Attorney Robert Pittman said in a statement.
"As a result, Valdez has lost his medical license, his reputation, his property and most of all his freedom. We hope his sentence of 25 years serves as a deterrence to others who would contemplate defrauding these federally funded health care programs."
U.S. District Judge David Briones ordered Valdez to pay $13,356,645.44 restitution and forfeit $1.7 million in cash, his homes in El Paso and San Antonio, and five vehicles. Briones also handed down a monetary judgement against Valdez for $9,741,649.
A jury convicted Valdez in July 2011 of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, six counts of health care fraud, six counts of false statements, and three counts of money laundering. Trial evidence showed that from January 2005 through December 2009, Valdez caused fraudulent claims to be submitted to Medicare, Medicaid, and Tricare for procedures he did not perform or which were not reimbursable.
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