Philip Esformes Loses Appeal at Federal Court Despite 20-Year Prison Sentence for Medicare Fraud Commuted By Trump in 2020

Philip Esformes (Photo: Rob Latour)

Philip Esformes, a Florida nursing home owner whose 20-year prison sentence for a $1.3 billion Medicare fraud scheme was commuted by former President Donald Trump in late 2020, has lost an appeal in federal court.

This decision paves the way for him to face retrial on six health-care criminal charges that a previous jury could not reach a verdict on.

Esformes had sought to overturn his convictions for fraud, money laundering, and receiving illegal kickbacks, arguing for the dismissal of his indictment due to prosecutorial misconduct and other grounds.

The U.S. Department of Justice described the case against him and two others in 2016 as the largest single criminal health-care fraud case against individuals in its history.

In a ruling earlier this month, a three-judge panel at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit unanimously rejected Esformes’ appeal.

This decision maintains his obligation to pay $44 million in fines and forfeiture orders resulting from his conviction.

Although Esformes’ lawyers plan to request a rehearing of the appeal by the entire panel of judges on the 11th Circuit, such requests typically face significant challenges.

Philip Esformes (Photo: Getty Images)

The appeals panel also determined it lacked jurisdiction to address Esformes’ argument that Trump’s clemency, which freed him from prison, should bar prosecutors from retrying him on charges where the jury deadlocked.

Esformes’ lawyer, Kim Watterson, clarified that the appeals court did not rule on whether Trump’s clemency prohibits further prosecution on any counts, stating, “The Court held that – as an appellate court – it lacked the necessary jurisdiction to decide the clemency argument at this point in time.”

Esformes’ legal efforts to dismiss the case garnered support from a group of Republican former U.S. Attorneys General, including Edmund Meese, John Ashcroft, Michael Mukasey, Alberto Gonzalez, and former FBI Director Louis Freeh.

They contended that prosecutors had violated rules by using communications between Esformes and his attorneys.

The appeals panel acknowledged that prosecutors had reviewed privileged documents and attempted to use them against Esformes before trial, actions that a lower-court judge had deemed misconduct.

However, the panel agreed with prosecutors that Esformes had not demonstrated sufficient prejudice from these intrusions to warrant dismissal of the indictment or disqualification of the prosecution team.

Philip Esformes, whose fraudulent scheme spanned two decades and resulted in significant losses to Medicare and Medicaid, according to the Justice Department, faces the prospect of retrial on unresolved charges amidst ongoing legal proceedings.

Categorized as Health

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