Four Brooklyn, N.Y.-area residents have been charged in connection with a health care fraud scheme operated out of the Solstice Wellness Center, a Brooklyn-area clinic that purported to specialize in providing physical therapy and various diagnostic tests, announced the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services (HHS).
Solstice executive Dmitry Shteyman, 35, and Solstice employees Aleksey Shteyman, 41; Maxsim Shvedkin, 38; and Sara Kalantarov, 22, were each charged in an indictment unsealed today in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of New York, with conspiracy to defraud the United States, to submit and cause the submission of false claims and to pay health care kickbacks. In addition, Dmitry Shteyman, Aleksey Shteyman and Shvedkin were each indicted on one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and 16 counts of health care fraud. Dmitry Shteyman, Shvedkin and Kalantarov were arrested today in the Eastern District of New York. Aleksey Shteyman remains at large.
According to the indictment, Dmitry Shteyman was the chief operating officer and vice president of Solstice, Aleksey Shteyman was a consultant at Solstice, Shvedkin assisted in the recruitment of Medicare beneficiaries at Solstice, and Kalantarov was an employee at Solstice who worked at the front desk. All four individuals are alleged to have been involved in paying cash kickbacks to Medicare beneficiaries to induce those beneficiaries to be transported to and from Solstice, to purportedly receive physicians' services, physical therapy and diagnostic tests. The false and fraudulent claims that were submitted to Medicare were for services that were not actually rendered and that were not medically necessary.
The charge of conspiracy to defraud the United States, to submit and cause the submission of false claims, and to pay health care kickbacks carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, per count. The charges of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and health care fraud each carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, per count.
An indictment is merely a charge and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Today's charges were announced by Assistant Attorney General of the Criminal Division Lanny A. Breuer, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Loretta E. Lynch and Daniel R. Levinson, Inspector General of HHS.
The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Katherine Houston and Steven Kim of the Criminal Division's Fraud Section. HHS Office of the Inspector General (HHS-OIG), the Office of the New York Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, and the New York Office of the Medicaid Inspector General conducted the investigation. The case was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, supervised by the Criminal Division's Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York.
Since their inception in March 2007, Strike Force operations in seven districts have obtained indictments of more than 560 individuals who collectively have falsely billed the Medicare program for more than $1.2 billion. In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.