Bensonhurst clinic employee sentenced to prison for $77 million Medicare fraud scheme

August 13, 2013 Editorial Staff
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Fifty-year-old Brooklynite Yuri Khandrius was sentenced to serve eight years in prison by U.S. District Judge Nina Gershon on Tuesday, July 30, for his active role in a $77 million Medicare fraud scheme.

Khandrius — who pleaded guilty on Dec. 3, 2012, to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, one count of health care fraud and one count of conspiracy to pay kickbacks — was an employee in a Bensonhurst clinic that operated under three corporate names, Bay Medical Care PC, SVS Wellcare Medical PLLC and SZS Medical Care PLLC.

According to 2005-2010 court documents, the owners, operators and employees of the clinic at Bay Parkway and 86th Street paid cash kickbacks to Medicare beneficiaries and used the beneficiaries’ names to bill Medicare for more than $77 million in services that were medically unnecessary or never provided.

Despite the fact that he does not hold any medical licenses or certificates, Khandrius impersonated his co-defendant, Dr. Gustave Drivas, at the clinic. He admitted to signing prescriptions and medical charts in Drivas’s name and performing medical tests and procedures on patients at his change of plea hearing.

According to trial testimony, he also directed a phony allergy testing fraud that involved giving patients bottles of tap water instead of allergy medications. In addition, he also falsely filled out medical charts in an attempt to deceive Medicare.

The FBI and the federal Department of Health and Human Services investigated the case from April to June, 2010 through the Medicare Fraud Strike Force.

A hidden court-ordered audio/video recording device was installed and used in a clinic room, marked private, where the conspirators were taped paying approximately $500,000 in cash kickbacks to individuals to convince them to accept care that was not medically necessary or to say nothing when services were not provided to patients despite the fact that Medicare was billed.

Gershon also sentenced Khandrius to three years of supervised release with an exclusion from Medicare, Medicaid and all federal and state health programs, and an exclusion from any employment that involves handling of any federal or state funds.

In total, 13 individuals were convicted in connection with this case.

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