Friday, October 13, 2023

Philip Esformes - 'unbounded greed'

Philip Esformes is a Florida nursing home owner whose 20-year prison sentence for a $1.3b Medicare fraud scheme was commuted by then-President Trump in late 2020. He is headed for retrial on 6 counts after losing an appeal claiming prosecutorial misconduct. The decision also leaves him on the hook for $44m in fines and forfeiture orders related to his conviction. When charges were filed against him and two others in 2016, the DoJ called it the “largest single criminal health-care fraud case ever brought against individuals” in department history. In the announcement of the commutation, the White House said Esformes had been “devoted to prayer and repentance” while in prison and was in “declining health.”
Esformes played his Jewish card and connections. Esformes’s family donated $65k to the Aleph Institute over several years starting after his indictment. That group petitioned for his release. Esformes’ fraud spanned two decades and involved $1.3b in losses from fraudulent claims to Medicare and Medicaid. With the loot, Esformes bought a $1.6m Ferrari, a $360k Greubel Forsey watch, and paid for hookers. The FBI said he “is a man driven by almost unbounded greed.” There is no federal statute that explicitly states that prosecutors cannot retry a defendant on charges a jury deadlocked on after a president commuted their sentence for other counts on which they were convicted.