Williamsburg Wellness Center Owner Sentenced for $2M Health Care Fraud
NORFOLK, Va. –A Williamsburg wellness center owner was sentenced today to 7 years in prison for defrauding Virginia Medicaid and other health care programs out of over $2 million.
According to court documents, Maria Kokolis, 48, of Williamsburg, owned and operated Pamisage, Inc., a center for integrative behavioral health and medicine, with a focus on weight management issues. Beginning in or about 2018, and continuing through February 2020, Kokolis executed a scheme to defraud and overbill various health care benefit programs and the Virginia Medical Assistance Program (Medicaid). She did so by charging 45 minutes to an hour of face-to-face psychotherapy services for noncomparable services, like sending messages through the company’s smartphone app or monitoring a client’s data. Kokolis billed these psychotherapy services for times when she was out of the country on vacation and when the clients were out of state or sick in the hospital. Kokolis also billed for months of services for people who met her one time and then never enrolled in the program. The fraudulent billing became so extensive that on 332 separate occasions, Kokolis billed for services that exceeded 24 hours in a single day.
Kokolis used the names, Medicaid ID numbers, and other identifying information of her clients in submitting these false claims to the health care benefit programs. Kokolis received a total of at least $2,202,627.77 in fraudulent health care benefit program reimbursements, a portion of which came from the U.S. government.
In a separate fraud scheme, in June 2020, Kokolis applied for a Payment Protection Program (PPP) loan falsely certifying that her monthly payroll was $25,000 and she had 6 employees, when she had only one employee and her monthly payroll was not $25,000. As a result of the false application, Kokolis received a PPP loan in the amount of $54,112.50, to which she was not entitled.
Jessica D. Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Brian Dugan, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office; and Jason S. Miyares, Attorney General of Virginia, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Arenda L. Wright-Allen
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joseph L. Kosky and Clare P. Wuerker prosecuted the case.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 2:21-cr-55.