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Medicare fraud nets 20-year prison sentence for Miami physician

Miami Herald, June 28, 2011

A Miami-Dade doctor convicted of pocketing more than $1 million for writing phony prescriptions for unnecessary HIV treatments was sentenced Monday to almost 20 years in prison, for his key role in a massive Medicare fraud conspiracy. The scam bilked millions of dollars from the federal healthcare program. Rene de los Rios, a 72-year-old Cuban-born physician trained in Spain, said virtually nothing at his sentencing as U.S. District Judge Joan Lenard hammered him for violating his medical oath, stealing from the vulnerable government program and disgracing himself, his family and his community. She also accused him of "blatantly lying" as a witness during his trial that ended with a jury's guilty verdict in April. "Dr. de los Rios does not deserve the title of doctor anymore," the judge declared, rejecting his bid for about seven years in prison.