Los Angeles, California - The former owner and the former operator of a durable medical equipment supply company based in Long Beach, California, were sentenced for their roles in a $1.5 million Medicare fraud scheme.
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker of the Central District of California, Special Agent in Charge Chris Schrank of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General (HHS-OIG) Los Angeles Region, Assistant Director in Charge David Bowdich of the FBI’s Los Angeles Division and Special Agent in Charge Joseph Fendrick of the California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse made the announcement.
Amalya Cherniavsky, 41, and her husband, Vladislav Tcherniavsky, 46, both of Long Beach, were ordered to pay $614,418 in restitution. U.S. District Judge Terry J. Hatter Jr. of the Central District of California ordered Tcherniavsky to serve 51 months in prison. On Oct. 15, 2015, a federal jury convicted both defendants of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and five counts of health care fraud.
The evidence at trial demonstrated that Cherniavsky owned JC Medical Supply, a purported durable medical equipment supply company that she co-operated with Tcherniavsky. Evidence further showed that the defendants paid illegal kickbacks to patient recruiters in exchange for patient referrals and paid kickbacks to physicians for fraudulent prescriptions—primarily for expensive, medically unnecessary power wheelchairs—which the defendants then used to support fraudulent bills to Medicare.
Between 2006 and 2013, the defendants submitted $1,520,727 in claims to Medicare and received $783,756 in reimbursement for those claims, according to evidence presented at trial.
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 of the Central District of California. HHS-OIG’s Los Angeles Regional Office, the FBI and the California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse investigated the case. Attorneys Blanca Quintero and Kevin R. Gingras of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section prosecuted the case.
Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged more than 2,300 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $7 billion. In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with HHS-OIG, is 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.