New York Anesthesiologist Indicted for Alleged Role in Telemedicine Health Care Fraud Conspiracy
A New York anesthesiologist was arraigned today on an indictment charging her for her role in an alleged telemedicine conspiracy to submit fraudulent claims to Medicare, Medicare Part D plans and private insurance plans.
Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Richard P. Donoghue of the Eastern District of New York, Assistant Director in Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. of the FBI’s New York Field Office and Special Agent in Charge Scott J. Lampert of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General’s (HHS-OIG) Office of Investigations made the announcement.
Anna Steiner, also known as “Hanna Wasielewska,” 63, of Valatie, New York, was charged in an indictment filed in the Eastern District of New York with one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. Steiner was previously arrested on a complaint in April 2019.
According to the indictment, starting in approximately January 2015, Steiner participated in a health care fraud scheme in which she and others ordered and prescribed durable medical equipment (DME) and prescription drugs in connection with purported telemedicine services. As alleged in the indictment, however, Steiner and other providers signed prescriptions and order forms for DME and drugs that were not medically necessary and that were induced by kickbacks, and provided for beneficiaries whom Steiner and others had not examined and evaluated. Steiner, together with others, allegedly submitted or caused the submission of more than $7 million in claims to Medicare for DME on behalf of more than 3,000 beneficiaries; Medicare paid more than $3 million on those claims.
An indictment is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
This case was investigated by the FBI and HHS-OIG. Trial Attorney Andrew Estes of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section is prosecuting the case.
The Fraud Section leads the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, which is part of a joint initiative between the Department of Justice and HHS to focus their efforts to prevent and deter fraud and enforce current anti-fraud laws around the country. Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, which maintains 14 strike forces operating in 23 districts, has charged nearly 4,000 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $14 billion. In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.