By Raanan Geberer
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Four individuals, including two doctors, have been charged for their alleged participation in two separate schemes that falsely billed the Medicare and Medicaid programs for more than $17 million.
Brooklyn psychiatrist Mikhail Pressman, 55, who is employed by the Veterans Administration, has been charged with submitting false Medicare claims and unjustly receiving over $2,800,000 in Medicare payments. It is alleged that “between 2006 and 2012, Pressman submitted claims for home medical visits for substantially every day of the year – seven days a week, 365 days a year” for patients he supposedly assisted while off duty.
After surveillance conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services, it was revealed that, on several occasions, after Pressman worked a full eight-hour shift at the VA he would return directly home in the evening and not leave again until the next morning, according to the charges.
Pressman’s home-to-work pattern did not provide the time he would have needed to see Medicare patients outside of his normal VA duties, the federally indictment noted. In 2011, based on Medicare claims, Pressman supposedly saw an “average of 14.66 patients daily,” the indictment reads. “Even if Pressman only spent 30 minutes with each patient during a home visit, he would have spent seven hours a day in patients’ homes in addition to the eight hours he spent at the VA.”
Pressman also submitted claims for patient visits on days where he is documented as being either out of the country or out of state, according to the indictment.
Pressman’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Patricia E. Notopoulos and Trial Attorney Bryan Fields of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section. Pressman was arraigned Tuesday before United States Magistrate Judge Robert M. Levy at the Brooklyn Federal Courthouse.
Chang Ho Lee, 66, a medical doctor; Michelle Lee, 58, the manager of several medical clinics; and Francis Choi, 54, a medical biller, were also charged with health care fraud in a separate case. It is alleged that from approximately March 2007 to May 2012, in three clinics — two in Flushing, Queens and one in Brooklyn — patients were offered massages, facials and other incentives. In return, the clinic billed those patients’ Medicare numbers for physical therapy, lesion removals and other procedures that were medically unnecessary and not provided.
“As alleged, these two prosecutions have exposed corrupt doctors and medical professionals who defrauded the Medicare program out of millions of dollars for their personal gain,” said Loretta Lynch, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York. “Today’s arrests demonstrate our continuing commitment to vigorously prosecute all who drain taxpayer funds from the Medicare program –funds which would otherwise pay for needed care for elderly and disabled Americans.”