Three Podiatrists and a Pharmacy Owner Arrested on Health Care Fraud Charges
Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer and United States Attorney Benton J. Campbell today announced the filing of two separate criminal complaints charging four Medicare providers for their alleged involvement in health care fraud schemes in the Eastern District of New York.1
Earlier today, law enforcement agents arrested Vadim Nekritin, Zhanna Glikman, and Igor Loshakov, all of whom are licensed doctors of podiatric medicine, on health care fraud charges. According to the first criminal complaint, between January 2005 and the present, these defendants allegedly billed Medicare for chemical cauterizations of granulation tissue, which treatments were not actually provided to the Medicare beneficiary/patients.
Also arrested today was James Ehrlein, the owner and president of Jayson Drugs, Inc., a pharmacy certified to provide durable medical equipment to Medicare beneficiaries. According to the second criminal complaint, between January 2007 and August 2009, Ehrlein allegedly billed Medicare for providing ankle gauntlets and heat-molded diabetic shoe inserts to beneficiaries, when, in fact, the items were not provided to the beneficiaries. The complaint charges that Ehrlein and Jayson Drugs billed Medicare more than $90,000 in connection with these fraudulent claims.
“Health care fraud investigation and prosecution is a priority program of this Office and the Department of Justice,” stated United States Attorney Campbell. “We will remain vigilant in our efforts to prevent fraud against one of our nation’s most significant programs.” In announcing today’s charges, Mr. Campbell acknowledged the assistance provided by the Office of Personnel Management-Office of Inspector General, the New York City Human Resources Administration-Bureau of Fraud Investigation, the New York State Office of the Medicaid Inspector General-Division of Medicaid Investigations, and the New York State Insurance Fraud Bureau.
“The charges and arrests announced today are another example of the effectiveness of the Brooklyn Medicare Strike Force in the investigation and prosecution of those who would defraud the Medicare program and taxpayers,” said Thomas O’Donnell, Special Agent-in-Charge, for the New York Region of the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services. “This enforcement action was a successful joint agency operation by OIG, DOJ, and FBI. The Brooklyn Strike Force will continue to pursue all violators who seek to victimize our Medicare beneficiaries in New York City and surrounding areas.”
Joseph M. Demarest, Jr., FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge, New York Field Office, said, “Health care fraud nationally is a multibillion-dollar plague, and Medicare fraud is an assault on publicly-financed health care. Taxpayer dollars are being stolen by medical professionals who, by billing for un-rendered services, violate the oath to ‘do no harm.’ The Task Force was established to cure this problem.”
If convicted each of the defendants faces up to ten years’ incarceration.
The cases were brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, supervised by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York and the Department of Justice Criminal Division’s Fraud Section. Since their inception in March 2007, Strike Force operations in seven districts have obtained indictments of more than 500 individuals who collectively have falsely billed the Medicare program for more than $1.1 billion. In addition, HHS’s 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.
The government’s case against Nekritin, Glikman, and Loshakov is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Amir Toosi. The government’s case against Ehrlein is being prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Maame Gyamfi.
The Department of Justice believes that it is important to keep victims/witnesses of federal crime informed of court proceedings and what services may be available to assist you.