Bronx Contractor Pleads Guilty In Manhattan Federal Court To Defrauding New York State’S Low-Income Cancer Screening Program
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that JOSEPH L. JUNKOVIC, a contractor who administered cancer screening services for low-income New Yorkers, pled guilty today to defrauding the New York State Department of Health (“NYSDOH”). JUNKOVIC pled guilty before U.S. District Judge Katherine B. Forrest.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “Joseph Junkovic used his contract position with the New York State Department of Health to enrich himself and cheat the public out of hundreds of thousands of dollars intended for low-income New Yorkers in need of potentially lifesaving services. With today’s guilty plea, Junkovic will be made to pay for short-term financial gain by a likely term in federal prison.”
According to the allegations made in previously filed Court papers and statements made at today’s plea proceeding:
From April 2008 through September 2011, JUNKOVIC used a not-for-profit corporation that he controlled, Cancer Service Network, Inc. (“CSN”), to obtain more than 18 separate contracts with NYSDOH to provide cancer screening services for indigent New Yorkers. CSN, however, was merely a pass-through organization run out of JUNKOVIC’s home in the Bronx, and JUNKOVIC directed the monies CSN received from NYSDOH to administer the cancer screening programs to his personal consulting company, JLJ Consulting Group, Ltd. (“JLJ”). In billing NYSDOH for his services, JUNKOVIC submitted separate invoices for each contract listing the total number of hours he claimed to have worked each month. When added together, JUNKOVIC frequently billed NYSDOH for well more than 600 hours per month – more than 140 hours per week (20 hours a day, including Saturdays and Sundays) – for his purported services, even while he was frequently on vacation or spending thousands of dollars at various casinos.
For some months, JUNKOVIC claimed he had worked so many hours on multiple contracts simultaneously that he billed a total of more than 24 hours a day for his services. On other occasions, he claimed he worked hundreds of hours while he was overseas. For example, for the month of August 2010, CSN billed NYSDOH for more than 590 hours of JUNKOVIC’s time, even though travel and bank records show that JUNKOVIC traveled to Vienna, Austria, on August 6, 2010 and did not return until August 30, 2010.
As part of his plea agreement, JUNKOVIC admitted to causing more than $360,000 in losses to NYSDOH.
JUNKOVIC, 49, of the Bronx, New York, pled guilty to one count of making false statements in connection with a health care program and faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison. As part of the plea agreement, JUNKOVIC has agreed to forfeit $360,556, and to pay restitution to the State of New York an amount up to $360,556. JUNKOVIC is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Forrest on July 30, 2014, at 1:00 p.m. The maximum potential sentence in this case is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.
Mr. Bharara praised the investigative work of the Office of the New York State Comptroller.
This case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Public Corruption Unit. Assistant United States Attorney Andrew D. Goldstein is in charge of the prosecution.