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Trump Commutes Esformes’s 20-Year Sentence in Massive Medicare Fraud Case

It wasn’t long ago that former nursing home operator Phillip Esformes was living at the height of luxury. Just last year, he acquired a $1.6 million Ferrari, a $360,000 Swiss watch, and traveled around the United States on a private jet. Yet it wasn’t long before Esformes was sentenced to 20 years in prison for a two-decade scheme that involved an estimated $1.3 billion worth of fraudulent claims. The story didn’t end there, however. Esformes’s prison term ended abruptly in late December of 2020 when then-president Donald Trump slashed what remained of his sentence.

In a recent New York Times article outlining Esformes’s story, his rapid path to clemency was described as “a case study in how criminals with the right connections and resources have been able to cut through normal channels and gain the opportunity to make their case straight to the Trump White House.

The Story Behind the Largest Criminal Healthcare Fraud Case in U.S. History

Esformes, who once controlled a network of more than two dozen healthcare facilities that stretched from Chicago to Miami, garnered $1.3 billion in Medicaid revenue by bribing medical professionals who referred patients to his Florida facilities. He then paid off government regulators as vulnerable residents were injured and neglected.

For nearly two decades, Esformes bankrolled his lavish lifestyle with taxpayer dollars, paying bribes with impunity and robbing Medicare and Medicaid by billing for services that people didn’t need or get. Along that road, he cycled patients through his facilities, where they received inadequate or unnecessary treatment. 

The Times article describes how Esformes was supported by a Jewish humanitarian nonprofit group—the Aleph Institute—that advances prisoners’ rights and works with the White House on criminal justice issues, including clemency. Following his indictment, Esformes and his family donated $65,000 to the group, which perhaps led to his clemency in late 2020.

The Times report states that Esformes used about $37 million of the illegal profits to cover excesses such as escorts, travel expenses, and a bribe to a coach at the University of Pennsylvania to help his son gain admission:

“At his sentencing last year, Mr. Esformes described himself as ‘reckless, impulsive’ and ‘arrogant,’ and said he had ‘cut corners without fear of consequences.’ He added, ‘There’s no one to blame but myself.’ The judge overseeing the case called Mr. Esformes’s behavior a violation of trust of ‘epic proportions.’”

Call an Expert Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer in New York City

If you believe that a member of your family is caught up in a harmful or neglectful situation as a result of unlawful actions by the staff or administrators, contact the trusted attorneys at Dalli & Marino. We’re a group of experienced lawyers who understand New York regulations and government healthcare. Our team of highly skilled trial attorneys will best be able to help you determine how much compensation you may be awarded based on the circumstances of your case.

At Dalli & Marino, our verdicts and settlements have recovered millions of dollars for our clients since 1996. We approach each case on an individual basis and serve to help you or your loved one recover the money you need to compensate for your injury or illness. Call (888) 465-8790 or complete our contact form today.


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