Social Worker Convicted of Defrauding Program for Developmentally Delayed Children
Defendant Billed Medicaid and the New York State Early Intervention Program For More than 1,700 Social Work Sessions that Never Occurred
A federal jury in Brooklyn yesterday returned a guilty verdict for public benefits theft and healthcare fraud against Enock Mensah, a social worker participating in the New York State Early Intervention Program (EIP) that provides remedial services to developmentally delayed children. When sentenced by United States District Judge Sterling Johnson, Jr., the defendant faces up to 10 years in prison.
Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and Margaret Garnett, Commissioner, New York City Department of Investigation (DOI), announced the verdict.
“Mensah was more interested in lining his pockets than serving the developmentally delayed children and their families who depend on social work services,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue. “With today’s verdict, the defendant faces the consequences for abusing the trust placed in him, which should also serve as a deterrent to those who would attempt to defraud public benefit programs.”
“Early intervention therapies are essential to the progress of young developmentally disabled and delayed children. The defendant, convicted today of fraud and other charges, chose greed over honesty – accepting public money as if he had provided these crucial services and pocketing those funds for himself, denying children and their families care that would help them reach important developmental milestones. DOI thanks the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York for its prosecution of and partnership in this important investigation,” stated DOI Commissioner Garnett.
From August 2013 to October 2018, Mensah fraudulently billed Medicaid and EIP for more than 1,700 therapy sessions that never occurred, resulting in the theft of more than $145,000 in Medicaid funds and more than $29,000 in New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene funds. At trial, several parents of special needs children testified that Mensah did not provide therapy sessions to their children. This was despite documents showing that he claimed to have done so and submitted claims forms for payment to the health care agencies. One parent testified that she was in the Dominican Republic with her autistic child when Mensah billed for two purported therapy sessions with them. In some cases, Mensah forged the parents’ signatures on these claims forms; in others, he persuaded them to sign blank forms.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Public Integrity Section. Assistant United States Attorneys Ryan Harris, Anthony Bagnuola, Oren Gleich and Erin Reid are in charge of the prosecution.
Fort Lee, New Jersey
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 19-CR-60 (S-1) (SJ)