Miami, Florida – Today, William Clero, 45, a resident of Miami, Florida, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore to 210 months in prison. Clero had previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud stemming from his role as the leader in a $9 million scheme to defraud prescription drug cost-savings (coupon) programs offered by pharmaceutical manufacturers to reduce the cost of prescription drugs for consumers. Clero’s co-defendant, Cesar Armando Perez Amador, 52, a resident of Miami, Florida, was sentenced to 87 months in prison for his role in the scheme.
Beginning in 2014 through April 2021, Clero and Perez established numerous retail pharmacies in Miami-Dade County that purported to provide prescription drugs to individuals with private health insurance plans or without health insurance coverage. Clero and Perez conspired to defraud prescription drug coupon programs by causing the submission of false and fraudulent claims to those programs resulting in more than $9 million in payments. The government tied 21 pharmacies to the defendants’ scheme, which pharmacies existed only to transmit the false and fraudulent claims. The pharmacies did not have real customers or prescriptions and did not dispense medications.
To conceal their involvement in the scheme, Clero and Perez recruited nominee or “straw” owners for each pharmacy and listed them on corporate records, bank records, and other business documents. As part of the scheme, Clero and Perez transferred most of the proceeds of the scheme to shell companies they controlled and diverted large amounts of money for their personal use and benefit.
Juan Antonio Gonzalez, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Anthony Salisbury, Special Agent in Charge, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Miami Field Office, announced the sentences.
HSI Miami, El Dorado Task Force-South investigated the case. The prosecution was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Aimee C. Jimenez and Ana Maria Martinez. Assistant U.S. Attorney Annika Miranda handled asset forfeiture.
Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or at http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov, under case number 21-cr-20112.