NY: Three Individuals Plead Guilty in $55 Million Health Care Fraud Scheme at Two Brooklyn Medical Clinics
As I’ve occasionally noted in the past in discussing statistics on medical identity theft, sometimes patients knowingly participate in the crime, usually by lending friends or family members their health insurance information so that others can seek care. Despite the government or other researchers’ justifications, I have argued that we shouldn’t consider such instances cases of medical identity theft if we are trying to determine the scope of people who are victims of crime. In other cases, where I would also argue we should not consider patients as victims, corruption of health records occurs because patients allow themselves to be paid as part of fraud conspiracies. Here’s a recent example of that, from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of New York:
Three individuals pleaded guilty this week in connection with a health care fraud scheme involving two Brooklyn, New York clinics that caused approximately $55 million in false and fraudulent claims to Medicare and Medicaid.
Olga Proskurovsky, 49, and Yuriy Omelchenko, 49, both of Brooklyn, New York, each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. Pursuant to their plea agreements, the defendants agreed to forfeiture money judgments in the amount of $17,216,687. Isak Aharanov, 42, of Brooklyn, New York, also pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit money laundering and one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States. The defendants pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Roslynn R. Mauskopf of the Eastern District of New York.
According to the defendants’ admissions made as part of the plea agreements, Proskurovsky served as a medical biller and Omelchenko worked as a therapist manager at Prime Care on the Bay LLC (Prime Care) and Bensonhurst Mega Medical Care P.C. (Bensonhurst). The defendants admitted that they assisted in a scheme to defraud the Medicare and Medicaid programs in which patients subjected themselves to medically unnecessary health services, including physical and occupational therapy, provided by unlicensed staff. To conceal the scheme, Proskurovsky and Omelchenko admitted that occupational and physical therapists falsified patient charts and medical billing documents.
As part of his plea agreement, Aharanov admitted that he and co-conspirators paid patients in order to induce them to come to Prime Care, Bensonhurst and Total Rehab and Physical Therapy P.C. Aharanov further admitted that he used a bank account opened in the name of one of his companies to launder funds and generate the cash needed to make these illegal kickback payments.
Fifteen other individuals have pleaded guilty in connection with the scheme.