A Brooklyn doctor and four co-conspirators pleaded guilty in the past week to defrauding Medicare and Medicaid of $30 million, after it was discovered they were billing patients for unnecessary services.
Elderly patients were charged for inessential tests and medical supplies, then provided with financial kickbacks to assure their silence and compliance.
Dr. Mustaky U. Vaid, 44, falsely signed off on the medical documents and was listed as the owner of one of the clinics, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Vaid’s co-defendants are medical executives: 54-year-old Marina Burman, 49-year-old Asher Oleg Kataev, 47-year-old Alla Tsirlin and 37-year-old Ivan Voychak. They were directly involved in the kickbacks and helped run eight fraudulent clinics, according to a Tuesday press release from the DOJ.
Burman was the owner of “Universal Supply Depot” and billed Medicaid for over $3 million in fraudulent charges. Despite not having a medical license, Burman found a way around the law by hiring doctors to “own”each clinic. Vaid was just one of the physicians she recruited.
Tsirlin and Kataev are siblings and were involved in paying off patients while submitting false claims to the government.
Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim called the defendants “corrupt” and was disturbed by their willingness to take advantage of the poor and elderly. Kim said:
These five defendants bilked Medicare and Medicaid out of millions of dollars for unjustified medications, procedures, and supplies. Medicare and Medicaid were established to assist the elderly and economically disadvantaged, not to serve as cash cows for corrupt professionals.
There are five more defendants involved in the case who remain under indictment, according to the DOJ press release. The case is slated for trial in April 2018.
Vaid ended up pleading guilty to “falsely holding himself out as the owner of one medical clinic, and falsely signing medical documents stating that he had provided medical services that he had not,” according to the DOJ.
All five of the defendants plead guilty to conspiring to commit health care fraud, mail fraud, and wire fraud. This carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
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