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United States v. Lopez-Diaz

United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit

July 13, 2015

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Appellee,
v.
JOSÉ LÓPEZ-DÍAZ; CARLOS LÓPEZ-DÍAZ, Defendants, Appellants

As Amended July 17, 2015.

Page 107

APPEALS FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF PUERTO RICO. Hon. Francisco A. Besosa, U.S. District Judge.

John H. Cunha, Jr., with whom Jaime Zambrana and Cunha & Holcomb, P.C., were on brief, for appellant José López-Díaz.

H. Manuel Hernández for appellant Carlos López-Díaz.

John A. Mathews II, Assistant United States Attorney, with whom Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, United States Attorney, and Nelson Pérez-Sosa, Assistant United States Attorney, Chief, Appellate Division, were on brief, for appellee.

Before Lynch, Kayatta, and Barron, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 108

KAYATTA, Circuit Judge.

These consolidated appeals present a rare example of a trial record that lacks sufficient evidence to support a guilty verdict returned by a jury. Carlos López-Díaz (" Carlos" ), a dentist, operated a mobile dental clinic in Puerto Rico.[1] His brother, José López-Díaz (" José" ), is a medical doctor who billed Medicare for services to Carlos's patients that José never provided. The jury convicted José of health-care fraud, conspiracy to commit

Page 109

health-care fraud, and aggravated identity theft for using personal information gathered from Carlos's patients. Based on the fact that Carlos gave José access to his patient billing information while knowing that José never treated, or even saw, any of the patients, the government also obtained a verdict against Carlos on the conspiracy and aggravated identity theft charges. While we find no error in José's convictions, we reverse the verdict against Carlos because the prosecution did not present enough evidence to support his convictions without undue speculation.

I. Background

We limit our summary here to the basic contours of the health-care fraud scheme and proceedings below, reserving a fuller exposition of the relevant facts in the proper light for our discussion of particular issues. See Unit ...


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