Medical assistant gets 3 years for role in $17M southern Brooklyn Medicare fraud
A Brooklyn federal judge called health care schemes a “thorny problem” in the Eastern District of New York before sentencing a medical assistant to three years in prison for his role in a $17 million Medicaid and Medicare scam in southern Brooklyn.
Yuriy Omelchenko previously pleaded guilty to working at as an unlicensed physical and occupational therapist, supervising aides as they gave unnecessary “treatments,” to patients at two Brooklyn clinics for Medicaid kickbacks.
Sets of rolling indictments from the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office find continuous acts of health care fraud in Brooklyn. Because of this and Omelchenko’s hands-on role in the scheme, Judge Roslynn Mauskopf found prison time necessary for the crime she referred to as “endemic” in certain cultures.
“I do think a significant sentence of incarceration is warranted in this case,” Mauskopf said in court. “These unlicensed therapists had no business putting their hand on these patients.”
For a salary of $270,604 — which Omelchenko is required to forfeit — he worked at Prime Care on the Bay in Sheepshead Bay and Bensonhurst Mega Medical Care, overseeing unneeded treatments to patients. Omelchenko would then work with licensed therapists to falsify documents to file claims to the public health programs.
Other members of the scam previously admitted to paying patients to induce them to go to the clinics, according to court documents.
The scheme that has brought at least 15 guilty pleas from persons of varying roles submitted $55 million in false claims to Medicare and Medicaid between 2008 and 2011. Of those funds, $17 million were taken out of taxpayers’ pockets.
Defense attorney, Michael Fineman argued Omelchenko should had been sentenced to home detention because he was compensated the least on the original indictment that charged two others.
Still, Mauskopf found him “significantly culpable” and noted Omelchenko’s wife, who has not been charged, was also compensated $265,286 from the scam.
Two co-defendants, Olga Proskurovsky and Isak Aharanov were scheduled to be sentenced Thursday afternoon on charges they previously pleaded guilty to.
While Omelchenko was indicted in June 2015, numerous indictments have since come down charging Brooklyn workers in health care rings.
Recently, the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office charged 20 persons in a nearly $150 million scheme that operated through clinics in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Sheepshead Bay, Canarsie, Gravesend and Crown Heights. Earlier in the same month of December 2017, the U.S. Attorney’s Office indicted three Brooklyn doctors for a $44 million enterprise through diagnostic testing facilities.
Omelchenko was ordered to surrender to prison on April 23.
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