Five Doctors and Eight Healthcare Professionals Charged as Part of National Healthcare Fraud Takedown – Ashirov and Barayev

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Alleged Billings in the Eastern District of New York Exceeded $163 Million

Thirteen individuals, including five doctors, a chiropractor, three licensed physical and occupational therapists and two pharmacy owners have been charged for their participation in fraudulent schemes in connection with which Medicare and Medicaid programs were billed more than $163 million. The charges filed in federal court in Brooklyn and Central Islip, New York, are part of a nationwide health care fraud takedown, led by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, which resulted in criminal charges against 601 individuals for their alleged participation in health care fraud schemes involving approximately $2 billion in fraudulent claims.

The charges were announced by Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; John P. Cronan, Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI); Scott J. Lampert, Special Agent-in-Charge, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – Office of Inspector General, Office of Investigations, New York Regional Office (HHS-OIG); James D. Robnett, Special Agent-in-Charge, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, New York (IRS-CI); and Dennis Rosen, Inspector General, New York State Office of the Medicaid Inspector General (OMIG). The results of the nationwide takedown were announced today by Attorney General Jeff Sessions; Alex M. Azar II, Secretary, HHS; Christopher Wray, Director, FBI; Robert W. Patterson, Acting Administrator, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); Daniel Levinson, Inspector General, HHS-OIG; Don Fort, Chief, IRS-CI; Seema Verna, Administrator, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

“As alleged, the defendants charged throughout the Eastern District of New York as a part of the nationwide health care takedown abused their positions to enrich themselves, while bilking Medicare and Medicaid. They did so without regard to the elderly and vulnerable citizens whose health depends upon these essential programs. Licensed medical professionals and others who cheat the system will be investigated and prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue. Mr. Donoghue extended his grateful appreciation to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, Office of Inspector General (OPM-OIG), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the New York City Police Department (NYPD), the New York Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU), the New York City Human Resources Administration and the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation, Office of Inspector General, for their assistance in the investigations in this district.

“Turning a blind eye to the needs of Medicare and Medicaid recipients,

these medical officials set their sights on personal gain,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney. “Our doctors and healthcare professionals are entrusted to serve those in need, but these individuals used their occupations as leverage to fulfill their fraudulent scheme. By allegedly billing Medicare and Medicaid more than $163 million, the defendants selfishly diverted funds allocated to our most vulnerable citizens. Devoted to protecting the welfare of our citizens, we will continue to uproot those who blatantly take advantage these programs.”

“Health care fraud depletes funds intended to provide care for our most vulnerable citizens,” stated HHS-OIG Special Agent-in-Charge Lampert. “This takedown sends a clear message that criminals who engage in health care fraud schemes will be caught and face consequences for their actions.”

“Medical doctors and medical professionals should be some of the most trusted people in our lives,” stated IRS-CI Special Agent-in-Charge James Robnett. “The financial expertise of IRS-Special Agents is needed to not only decipher the tax violations, but is necessary to unravel the sophisticated widespread financial fraud perpetrated against the safety net millions of Americans rely upon on a daily basis.”

“Medicaid fraud is not a victimless crime. Those engaged in schemes like this prey on the most vulnerable New Yorkers, rob the health care system of vital resources, and waste taxpayer dollars,” stated OMIG Inspector General Rosen. “My office will continue to work closely with our federal partners to hold wrongdoers fully accountable.”

The schemes charged in the Eastern District of New York, detailed in eight indictments and one criminal information, are as follows:

United States v. Wael Bakry, et al.: The superseding indictment charges five health care professionals for their role in a wide-ranging health care fraud scheme in Brooklyn and Queens that billed the Medicare program for more than $116 million. Wael Bakry, a physical therapist, Abraham Demoz, a physician, Victor Genkin, an occupational therapist, Mayura Kanekar, an occupational therapist, and Alexander Khavash, a chiropractor, were each charged with conspiracy to commit health care fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, conspiracy to pay health care kickbacks, conspiracy to defraud the United States by obstructing the lawful functions of the Internal Revenue Service, and subscribing to a false and fraudulent tax return. Additionally, Bakry, Kanekar and Khavash were each separately charged with two false claims counts. The charges stem from the defendants’ involvement in a scheme, run through multiple medical practices, in which the defendants paid illegal kickbacks for the referral of patients to their clinics. These patients, in turn, subjected themselves to purported physical and occupational therapy and other services in return for kickbacks. The superseding indictment was filed on June 20, 2018. The case, which is pending before United States District Judge Sterling Johnson, Jr., is being prosecuted by Assistant Chief A. Brendan Stewart and Trial Attorney Andrew Estes of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.

United States v. Artem Ashirov: The indictment charges Artem Ashirov, a pharmacist and sole proprietor of ABO Pharmacy in Brooklyn, with five counts of violating the Anti-Kickback Statute. The charges stem from a scheme in which Ashirov paid and offered to pay kickbacks for prescriptions filled at his pharmacy. Between 2015 and 2018, Ashirov, through ABO Pharmacy, billed more than $14.9 million to Medicare and Medicaid. Ashirov was arrested, and arraigned earlier today before United States Magistrate Judge Ramon E. Reyes, Jr., at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Erin E. Argo of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.

United States v. Gary Peresiper: The indictment charges Gary Peresiper, a medical clinic business manager, with conspiracy to pay health care kickbacks. The charge stems from Peresiper’s role at two Brooklyn clinics, Pulmonary Solutions, P.C., and Multi Care Medical NY PLLC. Peresiper and co-conspirators submitted claims through these clinics for purported diagnostic testing and other services for beneficiaries who had been directed to the clinics in return for kickbacks. From November 2010 to June 2013, the clinics billed Medicare approximately $10.2 million in claims, and were paid approximately $4.7 million on those claims. Peresiper was arrested, and arraigned before United States Magistrate Judge Peggy Kuo at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn on June 4, 2018. The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Sarah Wilson Rocha of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.

United States v. Iouri Winogradov: Iouri Winogradov, the operator of Brooklyn ambulette company Ambulette Star Trans, was charged with one count of conspiracy to violate the Anti-Kickback Statute and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. The charges stem from Winogradov’s role in a kickback and money laundering scheme in which Winogradov and co-conspirators received and paid illegal kickbacks for the referral of patients to medical clinics. The patients, who were transported to and from the clinics by Ambulette Star Trans, subjected themselves to purported physical and occupational therapy and other services. Between 2010 and 2014, Ambulette Star Trans was paid approximately $7 million as a result of claims submitted to Medicaid. The indictment was unsealed on June 27, 2018, and the defendant remains at large. The case is being prosecuted by Andrew Estes of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.

United States v. Yuriy Barayev: Yuriy Barayev, a pharmacy owner, was indicted on one count of health care fraud. The charge stems from Barayev’s ownership of a Queens pharmacy, Woodhaven Rx Inc., through which he submitted claims for medications that were purportedly dispensed by his pharmacy, but in fact were never dispensed to beneficiaries. From November 2013 to December 2015, Medicare reimbursed the pharmacy approximately $6.6 million for pharmaceutical claims. Barayev was arrested, and arraigned before United States Magistrate Judge Steven L. Tiscione at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn on June 26, 2018. The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Sarah Wilson Rocha of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.

United States v. Yong Jun Kim: The indictment charges Yong Jun Kim, a medical doctor who operated My Health Wellness Center in Flushing, New York, with one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and one count of violating the Anti-Kickback Statute. The charges stem from Dr. Kim’s role in a scheme in which claims were submitted to Medicare for physical therapy services that were not medically necessary, not provided, or otherwise did not qualify for reimbursement. Between 2012 and 2015, Dr. Kim billed Medicare approximately $5.6 million and was paid approximately $3.5 million on those claims. Dr. Kim was arrested, and arraigned before United States Magistrate Judge Steven L. Tiscione at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn on June 27, 2018. The case is being prosecuted by Senior Litigation Counsel Patricia Notopoulos of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.

United States v. Yekaterina Kleydman: The indictment charges Yekaterina Kleydman, a medical doctor, with one count of health care fraud and three counts of making false claims. The charges stem from a scheme in which Dr. Kleydman fraudulently billed Medicare and Medicaid for cosmetic dermatological procedures that did not qualify for reimbursement. Between January 2015 and March 2018, Dr. Kleydman billed Medicare and Medicaid approximately $2.5 million and was paid approximately $700,000 on those claims. Dr. Kleydman was arrested, and arraigned before United States Magistrate Judge Steven L. Tiscione at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn on June 25, 2018. The case is being handled by Trial Attorney Debra Jaroslawicz of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.

United States v. Harold Bendelstein: The indictment charges Harold Bendelstein, a medical doctor, with one count of health care fraud and two counts of making false claims. The charges stem from a scheme in which Dr. Bendelstein billed Medicare and Medicaid for incision procedures to patients’ ears, when, in fact, Dr. Bendelstein either did not perform the procedure specified or performed no procedure at all. Between January 2014 and February 2018, Dr. Bendelstein billed Medicare and Medicaid approximately $585,000 and was paid approximately $200,000 on those claims. Dr. Bendelstein was arrested, and arraigned before United States Magistrate Judge Steven L. Tiscione at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn on June 27, 2018. The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Debra Jaroslawicz of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.

United States v. Hal Abrahamson: The information charges Hal Abrahamson, a licensed podiatrist, with one count of health care fraud. The charges stem from a scheme in which Dr. Abrahamson submitted claims to Medicare and private insurance companies for procedures he did not perform, including skin grafts and wound packing, among other false billings. Between 2013 and 2017, Dr. Abrahamson caused a loss of approximately $869,000 to the Medicare program and other insurers. Dr. Abrahamson was arraigned and pleaded guilty before United States District Judge Denis R. Hurley at the federal courthouse in Central Islip on June 26, 2018. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Charles Kelly of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.

The charges are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The Defendants:

WAEL BAKRY
Age: 46
Staten Island, New York

E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 17-CR-0353 (SJ)

Dr. Abraham Demoz
Age: 58
Oceanside, New York

E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 17-CR-0353 (SJ)

Victor Genkin
Age: 49
Brooklyn, New York

E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 17-CR-0353 (SJ)

Mayura Kanekar
Age: 43
Bayside, New York

E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 17-CR-0353 (SJ)

Alexander Khavash
Age: 41
Parkland, Florida

E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 17-CR-0353 (SJ)

Artem Ashirov
Age: 42
Rego Park, New York

E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 18-CR-0321 (WFK)

Gary Peresiper
Age: 52
East Rockaway, New York

E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 18-CR-0280 (SJ)

Iouri Winogradov
Age: 51
Brooklyn, New York

E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 18-CR-0317 (JBW)

Yuriy Barayev
Age: 43
Briarwood, New York

E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 18-CR-0318 (FB)

Dr. Yong Jun Kim
Age: 48
Roslyn, New York

E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 18-CR-0320 (ARR)

Dr. Yekaterina Kleydman
Age: 35
Staten Island, New York

E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 18-CR-0310 (NGG)

Dr. Harold Bendelstein
Age: 57
Far Rockaway, New York

E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 18-CR-0309 (SJ)

Dr. Hal Abrahamson
Age: 55
Melville, New York

E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 18-CR-0314 (DRH)

credit to justice.gov

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