Health Care Fraud – Owner medical clinics gets 7 years

The owner of two Brooklyn medical clinic's was sentenced to 7 years in federal prison for her role in a $55 million Health Care Fraud scheme.

The owner of two Brooklyn medical clinic’s was sentenced to 7 years in federal prison for her role in a $55 million Health Care Fraud scheme.

According to U.S. Attorney’s Office, Valentina Kovalienko, 47, a resident of Brooklyn, and the owner of Bensonhurst Mega Medical Care PC and Prime Care on the Bay LLC, was sentenced to 7 years in federal prison by U.S. District Judge Roslynn R. Mauskopf of the Eastern District of New York. The judge also ordered Kovalienko to forfeit $29,336,497.

Valentina Kovalienko pleaded guilty in October 2015 to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

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As part of the guilty plea, Kovalienko acknowledged that her co-conspirators paid cash kickbacks to patients to induce them to attend her two clinics. She also admitted that she submitted false and fraudulent claims to Medicare and Medicaid for services that were caused by prohibited kickback payments to patients or that were unlawfully rendered by unlicensed staff.

Kovalienko also wrote checks from the clinic’s bank accounts to third-party companies, which purported to provide services to the medical clinic’s, but which in fact were not providing services, and the payments were instead used to generate the money needed to pay the illegal kickbacks to patients, she admitted.

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Twenty other suspects have pleaded guilty in connection with this health care fraud case, including the former medical directors of Bensonhurst Mega Medical Care PC and Prime Care on the Bay LLC. Three ambulette drivers, six physical and occupational therapists, the owner of several of the sham firms used to launder the money and former patients who received illegal kickbacks.

The Criminal Division’s Fraud Section leads the Medicare Fraud Strike Force. Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the United States, has charged nearly 3,500 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $12.5 billion. Also, the HHS Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.

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To learn more information about the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), go to StopMedicareFraud