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May 16, 11

NEWS / Brooklyn Physical Therapist Pleads Guilty to Fraud Scheme Involving False Billings to Medicare

WASHINGTON – A Brooklyn physical therapist pleaded guilty today for his role in submitting false and fraudulent claims to Medicare for physical therapy services that were medically unnecessary and never provided, announced the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services (HHS).

Aleksandr Kharkover, 49, pleaded guilty before U.S . Magistrate Judge Marilyn Go in the Eastern District of New York to an indictment charging him with five counts of health care fraud. Kharkover faces a maximum of 10 years in prison for each count of health care fraud. His sentencing has not yet been scheduled.

According to the indictment, between January 2005 and July 2010, Kharkover caused the submission of approximately $11.9 million in false and fraudulent claims to Medicare for physical therapy services that were not performed and were not medically necessary. According to the indictment, Kharkover hired individuals who were not certified as physical therapy assistants to purportedly provide physical therapy to Medicare beneficiaries.

The guilty plea was announced by Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch of the Eastern District of New York, Assistant Director-in-Charge Janice K. Fedarcyk of the FBI’s New York field office and Special Agent-in-Charge Thomas O’Donnell of the HHS Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG).

The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Katherine Houston of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, and was investigated by HHS-OIG and the New York State Office of the Medicaid Inspector General.

This 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, Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations in nine locations have charged more than 1,000 defendants who collectively have falsely billed the Medicare program for more than $3.2 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.

To learn more about the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), go to: www.stopmedicarefraud.gov .




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