For several years already, Alejandra Collazo posed as a doctor at her Hialeah medical clinic, using stolen identities of physicians to write over 2,000 fake prescription referrals to home health care agencies that paid her kickbacks for referring the patients. According to the Miami Herald,
“She lived a life of lying, stealing and cheating,” prosecutor Kevin Larsen told U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno. “She is like a catch-me-if-you-can character. She was holding herself out as a doctor, a nurse and a nurse practitioner.”
Collazo, 43, who pleaded guilty last year to healthcare fraud and stealing the identity of a Miami-Dade doctor, apologized as her attorney, assistant federal public defender Anthony Natale, stood by her side.
“I’m very sorry for what I’ve done,” said Collazo, who also has a state criminal record. “I realize that what I’ve done is wrong.”
She tried to drum up some sympathy from the judge as she spoke about raising her family, paying her mortgage and taking care of a mother who recently suffered a stroke.
Moreno, who was urged by the prosecutor to give Collazo a nearly 20-year sentence, reminded her that it was “dirty money” that paid for those household bills. But he gave her a slight break, even though he expressed dismay over her long criminal history.
During the ensuing federal investigation, Corria helped the U.S. attorney’s office make the case against his partner, Collazo. After the pair were charged with Medicare fraud in August, the Florida Department of Health isssued a cease-and-desist order for Collazo, who was working as an unlicensed registered nurse in Orlando.
While the judge sentenced Corria to eight years in prison for defrauding Medicare on Thursday, the office plans to recommend a reduction for his cooperation, Larsen, the prosecutor, told the judge.
Corria, standing with his defense attorney Hugo Rodriguez, told the judge: “I feel very ashamed here today in your presence.”