Trump Commutes Prison Sentence for Nursing Home Executive in Record-Breaking Fraud Case

As part of a slew of clemency grants announced by the White House on December 22, President Donald Trump commuted a 20-year prison sentence for Philip Esformes, who used to control a network of skilled nursing and assisted living facilities running from Miami to Chicago.

The remaining parts of Esformes’ sentence, including supervised release and restitution, are still intact, according to the statement announcing the executive grants of clemency.

Esformes was sentenced to 20 years in prison last year for what the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) called the largest single health care bribery and kickback scheme in American history. According to the DOJ, he used the Esformes Network facilities to defraud the Medicare and Medicaid programs for $1.3 billion.


His facilities would take in residents who did not quality for SNF care and refer patients to other providers such as home health agencies for kickbacks, according to the DOJ. Esformes was originally arrested in 2016.

After receiving the 20-year prison sentence, Esformes was hit with a $39 million forfeiture judgment and $5 million in Medicare losses, as well as $617,000 in incarceration costs. Federal prosecutors had requested $207 million, but the judge in the case, Judge Robert Scola, chose a lower figure because the criminal jury for Esformes did not reach a verdict on a count of conspiracy.

The commutation of Esformes’s sentence was supported by former Attorneys General Edwin Meese and Michael Mukasey and former Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson, while former Attorneys General Edwin Meese, John Ashcroft, and Alberto Gonzalez and others had filed in support of Esformes’ appeal challenging his conviction, according to the White House statement.


The challenge is based on “prosecutorial misconduct related to violating attorney-client privilege,” according to the announcement.

“While in prison, Mr. Esformes, who is 52, has been devoted to prayer and repentance and is in declining health,” the White House statement noted.

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