Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that MARIANNA LEVIN was sentenced to 54 months in prison for her leadership role in a broad fraud scheme that defrauded Medicaid for home health and personal care services that were not actually rendered, resulting in the loss of more than $100 million. United States District Judge John P. Cronan imposed the sentence. LEVIN pled guilty to wire fraud on June 1, 2022.
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “For years, Marianna Levin, the owner of a Brooklyn-based home health agency, defrauded taxpayers through a massive, fraudulent home health scheme. As part of the scheme, Levin billed tens of millions of dollars to Medicaid for home health services that were not actually rendered. As a result, the scheme diverted much-needed resources meant to support services for vulnerable individuals. Today’s sentence sends a message that those who engage in health care fraud schemes will face stiff penalties.”
According to statements and filings in federal court:
Since in or about 2015, LEVIN engaged in a widespread fraud scheme through which she and her co-conspirators defrauded Medicaid for home health and personal care services that were not actually rendered. During the course of the scheme, LEVIN served in a senior, executive role at a licensed home care service agency based in Brooklyn, New York (“Agency-1”). In or about 2016, LEVIN and her co-conspirators opened a second licensed home care service agency based in Brooklyn (“Agency-2” and, together with Agency-1, the “Agencies”). LEVIN served as the owner of Agency-2 and also continued in her leadership role at Agency-1.
The Agencies purported to provide home health and personal care services to patients residing in all five boroughs of New York City and Nassau County. Combined, the Agencies employed approximately 3,000 home health and personal care aides (the “Aides”). Most of the Aides were licensed to provide home health aide services and personal care services.
Home care is a health service provided in the patient’s home to promote, maintain, or restore health or to lessen the effects of illness and disability. Home care includes personal care services, administered by Aides, including housekeeping, meal preparation, bathing, toileting, and grooming.
From in or about 2015 to in or about December 2020, Medicaid reimbursed the Agencies hundreds of millions of dollars for home health and personal care services. A significant portion of the Agencies’ billings were fraudulent. In particular, the Agencies billed Medicaid for “no-show” cases in which Aides claimed to be performing home health or personal care services when they were not. At times when Aides falsely claimed to be performing home health or personal care services, they, in fact, stayed home, ran personal errands, vacationed, and socialized with family and friends. The fraud at the Agencies coincided with ballooning costs on home care in New York State. In or about January 2020, New York’s State budget director announced, in substance and in part, that spending in the home health space tripled between the 2013 and 2019 fiscal years, representing a $4.8 billion increase.
With no-show cases at the Agencies, an Aide’s fraudulently obtained wages were often split between the no-show Aide and the no-show patient. In addition to paying kickbacks to no-show patients, no-show Aides sometimes paid kickbacks to conspirators who referred no-show cases to Aides at the Agencies.
LEVIN and her co-conspirators also engaged in other fraudulent activity to boost the Agencies’ billing and increase the amount of money paid out to the Agencies.
Over the course of the scheme, LEVIN received more than $5 million in compensation from the Agencies.
In imposing the sentence, Judge Cronan emphasized the seriousness of LEVIN’s involvement in the fraud, the losses it caused, and the need to deter other home care businesses and workers from engaging in similar crimes.
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In addition to her prison term, MARIANNA LEVIN, 49, of Brooklyn, New York, was ordered to forfeit $1,496,000 and pay restitution of $36,328,183.
Mr. Williams praised the investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
This case is being handled by the Office’s Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nicholas W. Chiuchiolo and Daniel G. Nessim are in charge of the prosecution.
originally published at HUMAN RIGHTS - USA DAILY NEWS 24