Manager of Medical Clinics in Brooklyn and Queens Convicted of Multimillion-Dollar Money Laundering and Health Care Kickback Schemes
BROOKLYN, NY – A federal jury in Brooklyn returned a guilty verdict on all counts today against Aleksandr Pikus, the manager of medical clinics in Brooklyn and Queens, New York, for his role in multimillion-dollar health care kickback and money laundering schemes. Specifically, Pikus was convicted of conspiracy to commit money laundering, money laundering, conspiracy to receive and pay health care kickbacks and conspiracy to defraud the United States by obstructing the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The verdict followed a two-week trial before United States District Judge Ann M. Donnelly. When sentenced, Pikus faces a maximum sentence of up to 70 years’ imprisonment.
Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Brian A. Benczkowski, Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Scott J. Lampert, Special Agent-in-Charge, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, New York Region (HHS-OIG), and Jonathan D. Larsen, Acting Special Agent-in-Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), announced the verdict.
“Pikus’s health care schemes were a toxic brew of kickbacks and money laundering that streamed millions of dollars into the pockets of the defendant and his co-conspirators at the expense of the Medicare and Medicaid programs,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue. “Today’s verdict demonstrates the resolve of this Office and our law enforcement partners to protect taxpayer-funded health care programs upon which our citizens rely.”
“Aleksandr Pikus was the architect of a massive healthcare kickback and money laundering scheme in which he and his co-conspirators stole tens of millions of dollars from the Medicare and Medicaid programs,” stated Assistant Attorney General Benczkowski. “The jury’s verdict reflects the tireless work of our dedicated prosecutors and law enforcement partners to achieve justice and protect these essential healthcare programs on behalf of American taxpayers.”
“Mr. Pikus brazenly participated in a greed-fueled scheme that stole millions from Medicare and Medicaid,” stated HHS-OIG Special Agent-in-Charge Lampert. “Along with our law enforcement partners, HHS-OIG will continue to protect the public and the taxpayer funded health care programs that serve those who need them.”
“IRS Criminal Investigation is committed to ensuring that every taxpayer is measured by the same rule of law while paying their fair share,” said IRS-CI Special Agent-in-Charge Larsen. “Our special agents play a critical role investigating criminal violations of the Internal Revenue Code and related financial crimes. Every day, we entrust medical service providers with our most valuable asset—our health. That is why healthcare kickbacks and money laundering schemes like this one are particularly disturbing. Today’s guilty verdict serves as a reminder that crimes like money laundering and tax fraud will not go unpunished.”
As proven at trial, Pikus and his co-conspirators operated a series of medical clinics for nearly a decade that employed doctors, physical and occupational therapists and other medical professionals who were enrolled in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Pikus and his co-conspirators referred individuals to these health care providers who, in turn, submitted nearly $100 million in claims to the Medicare and Medicaid programs. In return for his referrals, Pikus received illegal kickbacks from the medical providers in the form of checks payable to shell companies that he and his co-conspirators controlled. Pikus then laundered a substantial portion of the illegal proceeds of the scheme through check-cashing businesses and failed to report that cash income to the IRS. Pikus used the cash to enrich himself and to pay patient recruiters, including ambulette drivers, who paid beneficiaries to receive treatment at the defendant’s medical clinics.
Pikus is the fifth defendant convicted in this indictment. In December 2016, Malvina Yablonskaya pleaded guilty to money laundering conspiracy and conspiracy to defraud the IRS. In November 2017, Maksim Vernik pleaded guilty to money laundering conspiracy. In December 2017, Denis Satyr pleaded guilty to money laundering conspiracy and conspiracy to defraud the IRS. In September 2019, Mark Tsyvin pleaded guilty to conspiracy to receive and pay health care kickbacks and conspiracy to defraud the IRS. The defendants are awaiting sentencing.
This case was investigated by the HHS-OIG and IRS-CI, and was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, under the supervision of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York. Assistant Chief A. Brendan Stewart and Trial Attorneys Sarah Wilson Rocha and Andrew Estes of the Fraud Section are prosecuting the case.
Brooklyn, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 16-CR-329 (AMD)