United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division
Charlene Edwards Honeywell Judge.
matter comes before the Court upon the Defendant's
Renewed Motion for Judgment of Acquittal and, in the
Alternative, Motion for New Trial (Doc. 89), filed on October
19, 2016. The Government filed a response in opposition (Doc.
90). Although the Government submitted over eighty exhibits
documenting Lorenzo's fraudulent financial transactions
and nine witnesses corroborating the charges against her,
Lorenzo argues that the evidence was insufficient and did not
support the jury's guilty verdict. The Court, having
considered the motion and being fully advised in the
premises, will deny Defendant's Renewed Motion for
Judgment of Acquittal and, in the Alternative, Motion for New
indictment charged Defendant Pilar Garcia Lorenzo with
conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud in
violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1349; conspiracy to commit
money laundering in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956(h);
and money laundering in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1957.
Co-defendant Amaury Perez, who faces the same charges, is
currently a fugitive.
charges arise from her participation in a home health care
fraud scheme which she executed through a purported home
health care agency in Tampa named Gold Care Home Health
Services, Inc. (“Gold Care”). Lorenzo established
Gold Care as its President and owner and enrolled Gold Care
in the Medicare program. Over a two year period, Lorenzo
submitted through Gold Care, 42 requests for anticipated
payment (“RAPs”) per month to Medicare. In July
2014, Perez became the new President and co-owner of Gold
Care. In the two months following, the Defendants submitted
over 800 RAPs through Gold Care for services that were
neither legitimately prescribed nor performed. Medicare paid
Gold Care approximately $2.4 million dollars based on the
submitted RAPs. Lorenzo, in conjunction with Perez, laundered
the proceeds through various transactions including between
and among personal bank accounts, cash transactions, and
shell company cash checking agencies.
Lorenzo's jury trial, the jury found Lorenzo guilty of
all three charges against her, including the objects of both
court may set aside a guilty verdict and enter a judgment of
acquittal if it finds the evidence insufficient to sustain a
conviction. Fed. R. Crim. P. 29(c). In deciding a Rule 29
motion, a district court must “determine whether,
viewing all evidence in the light most favorable to the
[g]overnment and drawing all reasonable inferences and
credibility choices in favor of the jury's verdict, a
reasonable trier of fact could find that the evidence
established guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.” U.S.
v. Grigsby, 111 F.3d 806, 833 (11th Cir. 1997) (quoting
U.S. v. O'Keefe, 825 F.2d 314, 319 (11th Cir.
1987)). To challenge a jury's guilty verdict on the
ground of insufficiency of the evidence, it must be
established that “no reasonable jury could have found
Defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt on the evidence
presented.” U.S. v. Ruiz, 253 F.3d 634, 639
(11th Cir. 2001).
of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure provides that
“the court may vacate any judgment and grant a new
trial if the interest of justice so requires.” Fed. R.
Crim. P. 33(a). Rule 33 allows the district court to weigh
the evidence and consider the credibility of the witnesses.
But, to grant such a motion “[t]he evidence must
preponderate heavily against the verdict, such that it would
be a miscarriage of justice to let the verdict stand.”
Butcher v. United States, 368 F.3d 1290, 1297 (11th
and Rule 33 have slightly different standards. On a motion
for judgment of acquittal, the Court must view the evidence
in the light most favorable to the verdict, and, under that
light, determine whether the evidence is sufficient to
support the verdict. U.S. v. Martinez, 763 F.2d
1297, 1312 (11th Cir. 1985). Therefore, under Rule 29, the
court assumes the truth of the evidence offered by the
prosecution. Id. But, on a motion for a new trial
based on the weight of the evidence, the court may weigh the
evidence and consider the credibility of the witnesses.
Id. If the court concludes that, “despite the
abstract sufficiency of the evidence to sustain the verdict,
the evidence preponderates sufficiently heavily against the
verdict that a serious miscarriage of justice may have
occurred, it may set aside the verdict, grant a new trial,
and submit the issues for determination by another
jury.” Id. (quoting U.S. v. Lincoln,
630 F.2d 1313, 1319 (8th Cir. 1980)).
was charged with violating 18 U.S.C. § 1349; 18 U.S.C.
§ 1956; and 18 U.S.C. § 1957. Section 1349 provides
that “[a]ny person who attempts or conspires to commit
any offense under this chapter shall be subject to the same
penalties as those prescribed for the offense, the commission
of which was the object of the attempt or conspiracy.”
18 U.S.C. § 1349
Section 1956 provides that
(a)(1) Whoever, knowing that the property involved in a
financial transaction represents the proceeds of some form of
unlawful activity, conducts or attempts to conduct such a
financial transaction which in fact involves the proceeds of
specified unlawful activity--(A)(i) with the ...