Two Kendall men spent seven years – not even a break during the two years one of them was in prison – raking in $9 million in a scam using coupons designed to help people pay for prescription drugs. They used friends, wives of friends, shell companies and pharmacies that only existed on paper.
This scam took William Clero from the suburbs to downtown, like the federal prison in Miami, after he was sentenced last week to 17 years and six months for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud. Clero’s partner in his recent crimes, Cesar Armando Perez Amador, had already been sentenced to seven years and three months.
Each man was also awarded $9,086,476 in compensation. In disrepair they lost a 2016 GMC Yukon Denali and a 2018 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali that Perez was driving; a 2017 BMW used by a friend of Clero’s; and 2017 and 2019 Cadillac Escalades that Clero drove.
Clero and Perez began their scam in 2014, targeting drug manufacturer programs that used coupons or savings cards to help people cover the cost of certain prescription drugs out of pocket.
Fake owners, fake pharmacies, real money
Kendall’s cronies recruited people to become the publicly traded owners of the dispensaries, which they incorporated and licensed with the State of Florida.
“After licensing, the pharmacies filed claims under drug cost-saving programs for a period of time and were then replaced by another pharmacy in the same or different location, all in Miami-Dade County in the Southern District of Florida. ” Cleros admission of facts it says. “The pharmacies didn’t buy prescription drugs for sale, didn’t have real customers presenting real prescriptions, and didn’t do real, legitimate pharmacy business.”
The listed owners opened pharmacy accounts in their names, but Clero and Perez did not grant them access to those accounts.
The first of the pharmacies, AVDrugs, which was registered with the state in December 2013 and licensed in April 2014, had a listed address of 4993 SW 74th Court, Suite A. If you google that address now, one of the companies listed there is Avalon Apotheke. State records list Enrique Cubero as president.
Clero’s admission reads, “EC…was Clero and Perez’s handyman.”
“EC was forced to relinquish the AVdrugs license after a Department of Health inspection determined it was not operating as a pharmacy,” Clero’s admission continues. “[Clero and Perez] incorporated AV Drug PH in September 2014 and billed the coupon programs under license from AVdrugs.”
Clero and Perez didn’t let Clero’s two-year jail term for crimes related to Moron Drug & Pharmacy, which the two jointly owned, slow down her fraudulent role.
While Clero had time for grand larceny, organized fraud, controlled substance fraud, identification fraud, illegal drug dealing, fraudulent prescription drug labels, and unauthorized sale of prescription drugs, a relative of Clero’s longtime pharmacy technician brought “CV” to Moron’s list owner of Fenix pharmacy to be admitted.
“CV was hired to carry out the day-to-day work of the scam, i.e. submitting false claims to the coupon programs using coupon or savings cards, as well as lists of names provided to her to enter as “patients” into the pharmacy billing system ‘ says Clero’s admission. “CV continued to make fraudulent claims against the coupon programs after Clero’s release from prison up to the date of the defendants’ arrest of April 1, 2021.”
State records for Fenix state that “CV” is Carmen Velasquez, a licensed registered pharmacy technician until December 31, 2016. The same state records state that Osvaldo Acosta succeeded Velasquez as President of Fenix. According to Clero’s admission, Perez recruited “OA,” a longtime friend, and then recruited “OA’s wife” to become a nominee owner of 26 Pharmacy & Discount.
Perez walked them through opening bank accounts, pharmacy licensing, and “had them pre-sign books with blank checks for their respective pharmacies. Clero did the same for “RG,” which state records state is Raisel Gil, as the nomiee owner of Rubi Pharmacy.
Some nominee owners were paid $10,000 to $15,000 for owning a dispensary and having it licensed on their behalf. Others were told their pharmacy was never licensed so they would not get that money.
Clero and Perez funneled the money from the pharmacies to themselves through a number of shell companies including Green Eagle, Clear Options and Olok Corp.