No Bail for Medicare Fraud Defendants

A federal magistrate in Miami, Florida, refused to set bail for a couple accused of defrauding Medicare for more than $200 million.

Lawrence Duran and Marianella Valera will not be released before trial because they are a flight risk, said U.S. Magistrate Andrea Simonton. According to court records, nearly $83 million that their mental health clinics fraudulently received since 2003 is still missing.

The couple faces up to 30 years in prison, if convicted. The magistrate ruled that there is a great risk that they will flee to Valera's native Peru if released on bond.

Duran and Valera have been accused of adjusting the diagnoses and medications of dementia and Alzheimer's patients to fraudulently bill for bogus therapy at clinics owned by their company, American Therapeutic Corp.

The couple allegedly formed another company called MedLink Professional Management Group to fraudulently receive Medicare funds from American Therapeutic. The funds were then distributed to Duran and Valera and their business associates.