Monday, February 26, 2024

“As Hyman Roth said, ‘This is the business we have chosen.’‘’

 That was Judge Bob Scola at the plea and sentencing of Philip Esformes.  The Herald covers it here:

A South Florida businessman pleaded guilty on Thursday to stealing millions of dollars from the taxpayer-funded Medicare program, capping a long-running healthcare fraud case marked by a commutation of his initial 20-year sentence by President Donald Trump in late 2020. 

Philip Esformes, who formerly lived in Miami Beach while running a chain of skilled-nursing and assisted-living facilities, showed no emotion as a federal judge spared him from going back to prison but imposed tens of millions of dollars in financial penalties reflecting his ill-gotten gains. 

Other than acknowledging his criminal activity as a healthcare operator who paid and received bribes in exchange for Medicare patients, Esformes said little during his change of plea hearing in Miami federal court and didn’t respond to a reporter’s question afterward. 

The plea agreement was reached earlier this month between the Justice Department and Esformes in one of the nation’s biggest Medicare fraud cases. Despite Trump’s commutation of his initial prison term, Esformes faced a potential retrial on the main healthcare fraud conspiracy count and five related charges from his first trial in 2019 because a Miami federal jury deadlocked on those offenses while finding him guilty on 20 others. The Justice Department vowed to retry Esformes as prosecutors negotiated a plea deal behind the scenes with his defense lawyers.

U.S. District Judge Robert Scola highlighted the “unusual” circumstances of Esformes’ healthcare fraud case, revealing for the first time what he thought about President Trump’s commutation of Esformes’ sentence after he had only served 4 1/2 years, including his time in detention after his arrest in July 2016. 

“I can’t say that I was not disappointed when his sentence was commuted by the president,” Scola said, while pointing out that under the Constitution a president has the prerogative to grant clemency petitions. 

Then, referring to a mob boss’ famous line in the Godfather II movie, the judge noted: “As Hyman Roth said, ‘This is the business we have chosen.’"


Anonymous said...

double negative. tricky.

Rumpole said...

Yeah I’m trying to unwind that sentence. So he was disappointed ?

Rumpole said...

The real question is with the plea is did the government make him an offer he couldn’t refuse ?

Anonymous said...

Not the only case being quietly settled this week.

Anonymous said...

Rich protecting the rich?? Can't stand to see that type go to jail?? Wth...