Queens Physician Settles Health Care Fraud Claims for $1.3 Million and Enters into Integrity Agreement to Ensure Future Compliance
Earlier today, at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn, social worker Enock Mensah was sentenced by United States District Judge Ann M. Donnelly to 42 months’ imprisonment for health care fraud and theft of federal funds after a jury found him guilty of defrauding the New York State Early Intervention Program (EIP), a public program designed to provide remedial services to developmentally delayed children. Mensah was also ordered to pay over $177,000 in restitution. Mensah was convicted in December 2019 following a one-week trial.
Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Michael J. Driscoll, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and Jocelyn E. Strauber, Commissioner, New York City Department of Investigation (DOI), announced the sentence.
“Mensah shamefully enriched himself at the expense of the children who the Early Intervention Program is meant to benefit,” stated United States Attorney Peace. “With today’s sentence, the defendant paid the price for abusing the trust placed in him as a social worker for vulnerable families. This case should deter others who would attempt to defraud public benefit programs.”
“With today's sentence, Mr. Mensah will face the consequences of taking advantage of a program designed to assist those in need of specialized care. For all those willing to exploit the public benefit system for their own self interest, let this case serve as a warning. The FBI and our partners are committed to eradicating abuse and fraud in these systems,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Driscoll.
“This defendant’s reprehensible scheme deprived children with special needs of assistance they required and deserved; today he faces the serious consequences of his illegal conduct,” stated DOI Commissioner Strauber. “DOI is proud to work with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York and the FBI to protect the public funds that support critical services for New York’s children and families.”
Between August 2013 and 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 the trial, several parents of special needs children testified that Mensah did not provide therapy sessions to which their families were entitled under the program, despite documents showing that Mensah 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. Mensah fabricated more than one thousand session notes in order to receive payment for work he had not done. In some cases, he forged the parents’ signatures on these claims forms; in others, he persuaded them to sign blank forms, which he later filled with falsified information and used to justify payment.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Public Integrity Section. Assistant United States
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 19-CR-60 (S-1) (AMD)
Danielle Blustein Hass
United States Attorney’s Office