WASHINGTON – Three employees of the Solstice Wellness Center, a Brooklyn-area clinic that purported to specialize in providing physical therapy and various diagnostic tests, have pleaded guilty in connection with a $3.4 million Medicare fraud scheme, announced the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services (HHS).
Solstice employee Dmitry Shteyman, 36, pleaded guilty today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Steven M. Gold in Brooklyn, N.Y. Solstice employees Aleksey Shteyman, 42, and Maxsim Shvedkin, 39, pleaded guilty before Judge Gold on June 20, 2011, and June 21, 2011, respectively. All three defendants pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud.
According to court documents, Dmitry and Aleksey Shteyman and Shvedkin were involved in a scheme to pay cash kickbacks to Medicare beneficiaries to induce the beneficiaries to visit Solstice. The beneficiaries were transported to and from Solstice purportedly to receive physicians’ services, physical therapy and diagnostic tests. At their plea hearings, Dmitry and Aleksey Shteyman and Maxsim Shvedkin admitted that they paid kickbacks to the beneficiaries so that Medicare could be billed for services and diagnostic tests that were not medically necessary. As a result of the fraud scheme, Medicare was billed more than $3.4 million for services that were not actually rendered and that were not medically necessary.
At sentencing, the defendants face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. Sentencing for Dmitry Shteyman is scheduled for Oct. 20, 2011. Sentencing for Aleksey Shteyman and Maxsim Shvedkin has not yet been scheduled.
Defendant Sara Kalantarov, a Solstice employee, and Yefim Drakhler, a Medicare beneficiary, have also pleaded guilty for their roles in the scheme. Ilya Gershkovich, Evgeny Gil, Yefim Kornfeld, Valentina Mushinskaya, Shelya Pinskaya and Vladimir Rubin were also charged for participating in the scheme and are scheduled for trial in October 2011.
The guilty pleas were announced by Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch for the Eastern District of New York and Special Agent-in-Charge Thomas O’Donnell of the HHS-Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG).
The case is being prosecuted by Acting Assistant Chief O. Benton Curtis III and Trial Attorneys Katherine Houston and Steven Kim of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section. HHS-OIG, the New York Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, and the New York Office of the Medicaid Inspector General conducted the investigation. The case was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, supervised by the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.
Since their inception in March 2007, Strike Force operations in nine locations have charged more than 1,000 defendants who collectively have falsely billed the Medicare program for more than $2.3 billion. In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.
To learn more about the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), go to: www.stopmedicarefraud.gov .