EDNY announces guilty plea by "over-utilized" Medicare beneficiary

by Ben Vernia | October 23rd, 2010

On October 22, the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York announced a guilty plea by a Medicare patient who received kickbacks from a health care provider for unnecessary services:

Brooklyn-area resident Yefim Drakhler pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn for his participation in a Medicare fraud scheme operated out of the Solstice Wellness Center, a Brooklyn-area clinic purportedly providing physical therapy and various diagnostic services.

Drakhler, 74, pleaded guilty to conspiring to solicit and receive cash kickbacks in return for purportedly receiving treatment at Solstice. According to the underlying complaint, Drakhler was a Medicare patient at Solstice and was paid cash kickbacks in exchange for purportedly receiving medical services at Solstice which were subsequently billed to Medicare.

The complaint alleges that a former medical provider at Solstice turned over a ledger book to law enforcement which contained the names of Medicare beneficiaries, including Drakhler, and an indication of the number of visits to the clinic made by those beneficiaries.

At the plea hearing, Drakhler admitted that from approximately January 2009 to April 2010, he made visits to Solstice for medical services and that he was paid cash for receiving these services at the clinic. In addition, Drakhler admitted that he received these cash payments in a small room at Solstice from a man who Drakhler identified as one of the owners of Solstice.

According to the complaint, Drakhler was an “over-utilized beneficiary” or a Medicare beneficiary who appears to be shared among various providers and receives an excessive volume of services. According to the complaint, approximately $214,516 worth of services from 124 medical providers was billed to Medicare under Drakhler’s Medicare number during a six-year period.

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