Defendants Allegedly Recruited Patients from Homeless and Low-Income Population; Ordered Unnecessary Medical Tests and Procedures, Then Billed Insurers
(SAI Bureau) Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, together with United States Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General New York region recently announced that four doctors are among 34 defendants – 20 individuals and 14 corporations – named in an 878-count indictment that alleges that they participated in a massive scheme to defraud Medicaid, Medicare and other publicly-funded insurance providers of approximately $146 million over three years.
Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “These defendants allegedly exploited the poorest among us to divert millions of dollars from publicly-funded insurance programs these same vulnerable people rely on. Some of the defendants then used the stolen funds to maintain a lavish lifestyle consisting of multi-million dollar homes, expensive handbags and luxury travel. This massive scheme, which provided no patient care at all, wasted millions of taxpayer dollars dedicated to Medicaid and Medicare, which serve as a lifeline for so many Americans – our families, our friends, our neighbors. I cannot and will not allow this type of corruption and fraud to take place in Brooklyn and will spend every resource to stop it.” Special Agent in Charge Lampert said, “Yet another fraudulent scheme involving doctors and other providers charged with fleecing vital government health programs serving vulnerable individuals. Criminals who place personal greed over patient care will be held accountable and prosecuted. Together, with our law enforcement partners, we will ensure that justice is done.” Commissioner Banks said, “To prey on those most in need of help by pocketing the funds desperately needed for their medical care is a betrayal of everything that social services and medical professions stand for. I am grateful for the hard work of everyone at the Kings County District Attorney’s Office, our partners in the State and Federal government, and our own Office of Medicaid Provider Fraud and Abuse Investigations for their diligent work investigating these serious allegations.”
Inspector General Rosen said, “This collaborative investigation and resulting indictment send an unmistakable message to those who seek personal gain by preying upon vulnerable New Yorkers and exploiting the Medicaid program: ‘you will be identified and held fully accountable.’ My office will continue to work closely with our partners in the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, U.S. Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General, NYC Human Resources Administration, NYS Department of Health, and other state and federal agencies to protect Medicaid recipients and save taxpayer dollars by rooting out fraud, waste and abuse in the Medicaid program.”
Superintendent Vullo said, “These defendants allegedly created a criminal enterprise to systemically pickpocket programs meant for those who can least afford healthcare, bilking publicly funded health insurance providers for tens of millions of taxpayer dollars. As the regulator of New York State health insurers and the enforcement agency charged with rooting out insurance fraud, DFS is proud to have partnered with the Brooklyn DA’s office in investigating these defendants, and helping to bring them to justice.”
The Acting District Attorney identified Kristina Mirbabayeva, 35, of Bridge Street, in Downtown Brooklyn, as the alleged leader of the scheme. Other alleged high-level members of the enterprise include Dr. Kevin Custis, 53, of Belle Meade, New Jersey, who was Mirbabayeva’s alleged business partner; Vladislav Yakubov, 46, of Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, who allegedly managed recruiting clinics with Kamal Zafar, 49, of South Huntington, New York; and Natan Yusufov, 54, of Ocean Parkway, Brooklyn, Igor Shamayev, 47, of Midwood, and Vitalik Ifraimov, 58, of Ocean Parkway, alleged money launderers. Some of the defendants were arraigned before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun this morning on an indictment in which they are variously charged with enterprise corruption, first-degree scheme to defraud, first-, second-, third- and fourth-degree money laundering, first, second- and fifth-degree health care fraud, first-degree falsifying business records, first-degree offering a false instrument for filing, first-, second- and fourth-degree grand larceny and first-degree scheme to defraud. The defendants are being arraigned throughout the day and bail set in varying amounts.