Brooklyn Money Launderer Senteced To 37 Months In Prison In Connection With $77 Million Medicare Fraud Scheme
BROOKLYN, NY – Earlier today, Anatoly Kraiter, 35, of Brooklyn, New York, was sentenced today to 37 months in prison for his role as a money launderer for a $77 million Medicare fraud scheme. In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Judge Nina Gershon of the Eastern District of New York sentenced Kraiter to three years of supervised release and ordered him to forfeit $100,000. Kraiter’s surrender date is September 16, 2013.
The sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Loretta E. Lynch; Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; George Venizelos, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI); and Special Agent-in-Charge Thomas O’Donnell of the HHS Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG).
Kraiter pleaded guilty on July 24, 2012 to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. Including Kraiter, 13 individuals were convicted in this case, either through guilty plea or trial conviction.
According to court documents, from 2008 to 2010, Kraiter opened and operated numerous shell companies and bank accounts through which he laundered the proceeds of health care fraud from Brooklyn clinic SZS Medical Care PLLC (“SZS Medical”). The owners and operators of SZS Medical, along with closely related medical clinics Bay Medical Care PC and SVS Wellcare Medical PLLC (collectively, “the Bay Medical clinics”) committed a $77 million Medicare fraud from 2005 to 2010. According to court documents, the Bay Medical clinics submitted more than $77 million in claims to Medicare, seeking reimbursement for a wide variety of fraudulent medical services and procedures, including physician office visits, physical therapy and diagnostic tests.
The government’s investigation included the use of a court-ordered audio/video recording device hidden in a room at the clinic, in which the conspirators paid cash kickbacks to corrupt Medicare beneficiaries. The conspirators were recorded paying approximately $500,000 in cash kickbacks during a period of approximately six weeks from April to June 2010. This room was marked “PRIVATE” and featured a Soviet-era poster of a woman with a finger to her lips and the words “Don’t Gossip” in Russian. The purpose of the kickbacks was to induce the beneficiaries to receive unnecessary medical services or to stay silent when services not provided to the patients were billed to Medicare.
To generate the large amounts of cash needed to pay the patients, the conspirators used a network of external money launderers, including Kraiter. According to court documents, Kraiter conspired with others to accept checks from the Bay Medical clinics, which were made payable to various shell companies Kraiter and his co-conspirators controlled. These checks did not represent payment for any legitimate service, but rather were written to launder the Bay Medical clinics’ fraudulently obtained health care proceeds. Kraiter admitted at his change of plea hearing that he deposited such checks into bank accounts he controlled, intending these transactions to hide and disguise the fact that these funds were proceeds of a crime. He admitted that he knew these funds were proceeds of health care fraud.
According to court documents, Kraiter and his co-conspirators negotiated and cashed these checks and provided the cash back to the owners and operators of the Bay Medical clinics. Such cash was then diverted to the personal use of the owners and operators of the Bay Medical clinics, and used to pay illegal cash kickbacks to the Bay Medical clinics’ purported patients.
This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Sarah M. Hall of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Shannon Jones and William Campos of the Eastern District of New York. The case was investigated by the FBI and HHS.
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. The Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations are part of the Health Care Fraud Prevention & Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), a joint initiative announced in May 2009 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, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged more than 1,500 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $5 billion. In addition, HHS’s Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with HHS-OIG, is 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.