From U.S. Attorney's Office
Alleged fraudulent billings exceeded $23M
Fifteen individuals, including a doctor and four licensed chiropractors, have been accused of participating in three separate schemes that allegedly billed the Medicare and Medicaid programs for more than $23 million.
The charges filed in Brooklyn and Central Islip, Long Island, are part of a nationwide takedown by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations that led to charges against 92 individuals for their alleged participation in schemes to submit approximately $432 million in fraudulent claims.
The three schemes charged in the Eastern District of New York, detailed in two indictments, two criminal complaints, and other documents filed by the government, are as follows:
In the Cropsey case, nine people, including the manager and the medical director of Cropsey Medical Care PLCC in Brooklyn, were indicted in connection with an alleged health care fraud and money laundering scheme. Olga Novogorodsky, Dr. Okan Umana, Igor Ishchuk, Igor Kuleshov, Yefim Morchik, Pavel Zborovskiy and Gregory Konoplya were charged with conspiring to defraud the Medicare and Medicaid programs of more than $13 million by submitting fraudulent claims for physical therapy and other medical services.
The indictment also charges that they paid Medicare and Medicaid patients cash kickbacks to induce them to come to Cropsey and receive unnecessary medical services or to stay silent when services that were not actually provided were billed to Medicare and Medicaid.
In the Cwibeker case, four licensed chiropractors -- Melvin Cwibeker, Richard Hurwitz, Shimon Metz and Mark Samuel -- were charged with Medicare fraud and aggravated identity theft. Cwibeker, the owner of Mel Cwibeker, D.C., a chiropractic practice based in Woodmere, Long Island, has also been charged with money laundering, engaging in unlawful monetary transactions, and obstructing a federal audit.
The indictment charges that the defendants contracted patients who lived in assisted living facilities, many of whom were elderly and had physical and mental disabilities, to provide chiropractic services. Although the defendants failed to provide these patients with legitimate chiropractic services, they allegedly submitted $6.4 million in fraudulent billings, over a six-year period, to the Medicare program.
In the Mega-Line case, Yevgeniy Pikus, the office manager of a medical clinic in Rego Park, Queens, and Rafik Gavrielov, the owner of Mega-Line, an ambulette service in Queens, were charged with conspiring to pay cash kickbacks to Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries. The defendants used at least two ambulette services to transport seniors to and from their residences for medical appointments.
To induce beneficiaries to use their medical and ambulette services, the defendants paid the beneficiaries cash kickbacks, in violation of the federal anti-kickback statute, according to the indictment.
“All of the defendants charged here today allegedly took advantage of programs designed to provide assistance to the most needy, subverting them to their own ends. Doctors, chiropractors, and other medical professionals who defraud Medicare and Medicaid are on notice that they will be investigated and prosecuted,” said Loretta Lynch, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District, located in Brooklyn.