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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 17, 2018

Medical Supply Executive Sentenced To 36 Months In Prison For Her Role In A $30 Million Scheme To Defraud Medicare And Medicaid

Geoffrey S.  Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that MARINA BURMAN was sentenced today to 36 months in prison.  BURMAN, the former president of a medical supply company, submitted approximately $3.4 million in fraudulent bills to the New York State Medicaid Program, falsely claiming to have dispensed adult diapers and other medical supplies that were not medically necessary and, in many cases, not dispensed at all.  BURMAN was sentenced today by United States District Judge Lorna G. Schofield.

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “The Medicare and Medicaid programs are intended to provide essential medical care to the elderly and the needy, not to line the pockets of fraudsters and opportunists.  Ultimately, the real victims of Marina Burman and her co-conspirators’ crimes are U.S. taxpayers and needy patients with legitimate medical needs.  Today’s sentence sends a strong message that those who cheat Medicare and Medicaid will not go unpunished.”

According to the Indictment and other documents filed in federal court, as well as statements made during BURMAN’s plea proceeding and sentencing:

Between 2007 and 2013, BURMAN’s ex-husband and co-defendant, Aleksandr Burman, owned and operated six medical clinics in Brooklyn (the “Clinics”) that fraudulently billed Medicare and Medicaid approximately $30 million for medical services and supplies that were medically unnecessary or otherwise fraudulently billed.  Under New York State law, medical clinics must be owned and operated by a medical professional.  To circumvent this requirement, Aleksandr Burman, who was not a medical professional, hired doctors to pose as the nominal owners of each of the Clinics.  As part of the fraud, the doctors also signed medical charts falsely stating that they had examined patients, and wrote prescriptions and referrals for medically unnecessary tests and supplies, including the $3.4 million in adult diapers and other supplies dispensed by BURMAN’s medical supply company.  Instead of actually obtaining many of these supplies, patients exchanged their prescriptions for merchandise, such as bed linens, tablecloths, dishes, kitchen appliances, and other housewares.  In furtherance of the fraud, BURMAN also falsely held herself out to Medicare and Medicaid as the sole owner of the medical supply company and concealed the fact that she actually owned that company jointly with her then-husband, Aleksandr Burman.

In all, 11 defendants have been charged for their participation in this healthcare fraud scheme.  Aleksandr Burman pled guilty and on May 8, 2017, was sentenced to 120 months in prison. Two medical doctors (Mustak Y. Vaid and Ewald J. Antoine), two Clinic executives (Asher Oleg Kataev and Alla Tsirlin), and two individuals who helped run two of the Clinics and a related ambulette company (Ivan Voychak and Edward Miselevich) have pled guilty and are awaiting sentencing.  Three additional defendants – a doctor (Paul J. Mathieu), a physical therapist (Hatem Behiry), and an occupational therapist (Lina Zhitnik) – are scheduled to go to trial before Judge Schofield on November 26, 2018.  These three remaining defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

MARINA BURMAN, 55, of Manhattan, pled guilty to health care fraud and conspiracy to commit health care fraud, mail fraud, and wire fraud before Judge Schofield on November 14, 2017.  In addition to the prison term, Judge Schofield ordered BURMAN to forfeit six condominium apartments paid for with the proceeds of the healthcare fraud scheme, and to pay restitution of $3,415,363 to Medicaid.

Mr. Berman praised the outstanding investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the New York State Office of the Medicaid Inspector General (“OMIG”).

The prosecution of this case is being handled by the Office’s Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys David Raymond Lewis, Stephen J. Ritchin, and Won S. Shin are in charge of the prosecution.

Topic(s): 
Health Care Fraud
Press Release Number: 
18-168
Updated May 17, 2018