ORLANDO, Fla. — A Florida woman convicted in a $205 million Medicare fraud scheme is among the 11 federal inmates around the nation on whose behalf President Donald Trump has taken clemency actions.
Trump commuted 48-year-old Judith Negron's sentence Tuesday.
Her husband, Hector Negron, sat his two teenage sons next to him and told them the news. He recounted to The Associated Press that he told his sons: "'I got the best news in the world right now. Mommy is coming home.'"
"I'm just thankful to Trump for giving me my life back," Hector Negron said from South Florida. "I'm indebted to him for the rest of my life because he gave me my family back."
Judith Negron had been eight years into a 35-year sentence at a federal prison in central Florida. Her family said they were waiting to hear when she would be released from the Coleman Federal Correctional Complex.
She was convicted in 2011 on 24 counts of conspiracy, health care fraud and money laundering, among other charges.
Federal prosecutors said she and two co-defendants conducted a $205 million Medicare fraud scheme in South Florida. Authorities said they paid bribes and kickbacks to owners and operators of assisted living facilities and halfway houses, as well as patient brokers, in exchange for delivering ineligible patients to their mental health facility.
A federal judge ordered Negron and her co-defendants to pay $87 million in restitution. The two other co-defendants were sentenced, respectively, to 35 years and 50 years in prison in what the FBI described in a news release as " the three longest prison sentences ever imposed in a Medicare Fraud Strike Force case."
Hector Negron said a clemency advocate put his wife's case on the president's radar. He was notified about Trump's decision by former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, who now works in the White House.
Yamila Cruz Estrada screamed and cried at the same time when she found out her sister was coming home.
"We are just filled with happiness and gratitude. We had hoped this moment would come, but we didn't know when," Cruz said.
While in prison, Judith Negron had helped fellow inmates who had children and she will likely want to carry on that work once she is released, Cruz said.
Cruz described family members as still in shock from news.
"We are so thankful for everyone who has helped us but particularly to President Trump," Cruz said. "He read our letters and answered our prayers. He will never know how much he has impacted us."