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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Clinic Owner And Four Medical Professionals Sentenced In A $4 Million Medicare Fraud Scheme

Defendants Submitted False Claims to Medicare Through a Medical Clinic in Flushing, New York

Earlier today, Jeffrey Suh, Richelle Munoz, Sophia Lin, Kang Young Chung, and Emily Shim were sentenced in federal court in Brooklyn for conspiring to commit health care fraud in a scheme where they fraudulently billed Medicare for more than $4 million.  Suh, the scheme’s organizer and leader, was sentenced to 42 months’ imprisonment.  Munoz, a licensed occupational therapist, and Lin, a licensed chiropractor, were sentenced to 16 and 13 months’ imprisonment, respectively.  Chung, a physical therapist assistant, was sentenced to a year and a day’s imprisonment.  Shim, the clinic manager, was sentenced to 8 months’ imprisonment.  As part of the sentences imposed, the defendants were ordered to pay $2,685,580 in restitution to Medicare.  Additionally, the court ordered the defendants to forfeit their ill-gotten gains as follows:  Suh was ordered to forfeit two properties, valued at more than $1,000,000 in total; Munoz was ordered to pay $565,594; Lin was ordered to pay $70,000; Chung was ordered to pay $985,501; and Shim was ordered to pay $115,136.  The defendants were charged as part of a nationwide Medicare Fraud takedown in June 2015.

The sentences were announced by Robert L. Capers, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; Scott J. Lampert, Special Agent-in-Charge, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General, New York Region (HHS-OIG); and Diego Rodriguez, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI).

“Clinic owner Jeffrey Suh and his licensed medical professionals manipulated elderly Medicare patients by bribing them with services and induced them to receive medically unnecessary treatments and services.  By doing so, they defrauded a taxpayer funded program out of millions of dollars,” stated United States Attorney Capers.  “Those who defraud Medicaid and Medicare are on notice that they will be held accountable for their crimes.”  

 “The actions of these co-conspirators resulted in the diversion of scarce taxpayer funds from the Medicare program just for personal enrichment,” said HHS-OIG Special Agent in Charge Lampert.  “The HHS Office of Inspector General, together with our law enforcement partners, will continue to vigorously pursue those who steal from government health programs in such greed-fueled schemes.”

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Rodriguez stated, “Today’s sentencing should serve as a warning to those who seek to defraud the government.  Public health insurance programs, like Medicare, are not a personal pocketbook for criminals seeking to exploit a program designed to help.  The FBI is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to bring to justice those who defraud taxpayer funded programs.”

From approximately December 2010 through June 2013, the defendants submitted more than $4 million in false claims to Medicare for physical therapy, occupational therapy, and chiropractic services that were not medically necessary, were often not provided, and otherwise did not qualify for reimbursement.  Instead of evaluating and performing therapy and services on Medicare beneficiaries in the amount claimed, the defendants typically ushered them to unlicensed massage therapists for massages and other free goods and services.  On some occasions, the defendants submitted claims to Medicare for services ostensibly performed by a licensed professional when that licensed professional was not even in the United States, or submitted claims to Medicare for services performed on Medicare beneficiaries who were abroad. 

The scheme was carried out at a medical clinic located in Flushing, New York, owned by Suh and operated under the names Plaza Medi Group, Inc. and New Plaza Group, Inc.

The sentences were imposed by the Hon. Carol B. Amon, Chief United States District Judge.

The government’s case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Business and Securities Fraud Section.  Assistant United States Attorneys Sylvia Shweder and Whitman Knapp are in charge of the prosecution, with assistance provided by Assistant United States Attorney Karin Orenstein of the Office’s Civil Division, which is responsible for the forfeiture of assets.

The Defendants:

JEFFREY SUH
Age:  56
Bayside, New York

RICHELLE MUNOZ
Age: 39
Brooklyn, New York

SOPHIA LIN
Age:  34
Rocky Point, New York

KANG YOUNG CHUNG
Age:  42
Woodside, New York

EMILY SHIM
Age:  40
Flushing, New York

E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 15-CR-300 (CBA)

Topic: 
Healthcare Fraud
StopFraud
Updated February 24, 2016