Anton Community Newspapers  •  132 East 2nd Street  •  Mineola, NY 11501  •  Phone: 516-747-8282  •  FAX: 516-742-5867
Attention: open in a new window. PDFPrintE-mail

Rice: 8 Charged In Medicaid Fraud Sweep

Jericho Resident Among Those Arrested

Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice has announced that a sweep targeting county residents who steal undeserved Medicaid benefits has resulted in the arrest of eight people who collectively stole more than $304,000 in taxpayer funds, including one Holbrook couple who had more than $1 million in the bank. The sweep was the result of joint investigations by the District Attorney’s Medicaid Fraud Unit and the Nassau County Department of Social Services, and Health and Human Services Medicaid Investigations Unit.

“Medicaid is a critical program for millions of low-income individuals, not for millionaires who fraudulently abuse the system,” Rice said. “Anyone who lies when applying for Medicaid deprives deserving people from benefiting from this critically important program and hurts every taxpayer. I started the Medicaid Fraud Unit so my office could weed out the waste, fraud, and abuse that plague programs set up to protect our society’s most vulnerable members, and these arrests are proof that it’s working.”

Medicaid is a state-run program that provides free public health insurance to more than 40 million low-income individuals nationwide. It is funded jointly by federal, state, and county governments. Restitution from fraud cases, such as these, is returned to the funding agencies, with approximately 25 percent going to the state and another 25 percent going to the local county.

In April 2007, Nassau County District Attorney Rice created a Medicaid Fraud Unit within her office. To date, the unit has been responsible for 66 arrests connected to more than $2 million in fraud.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office estimates that 10 percent of health care spending is lost to fraud and abuse. Nassau County spends in excess of $1 billion per year to fund its portion of the Medicaid mandate and New York State’s $45 billion annual bill is more than any other state in the country.

“These types of crimes are an affront against every Nassau County resident, and every American,” said County Executive Ed Mangano. “I want to thank District Attorney Kathleen Rice and Social Services Commissioner John Imhof for their vigilance on this issue. Without question, Nassau County will catch and prosecute fully anyone who attempts to beat the system.”

Charged in the most recent sweep are:

-Yeon Hwa Cha, 50, of Jericho, was arrested July 15 and charged with Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, Welfare Fraud in the Third Degree, and four counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree. Rice said that between April 2003 and November 2009, Cha stole more than $36,000 in undeserved Medicaid benefits by underreporting her income as a tutor and nail salon owner. During this time period, her bank deposits totaled more than $260,000. She faces up to seven years in prison if convicted. She is represented by Dennis Lemke, Esq. and is due back in court Oct. 4.

-Michael, 42, and Katherine Reilly, 44, of Holbrook, were arrested Aug. 11 and charged with Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, Welfare Fraud in the Second Degree, and three counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree. Rice said that between May 2001 and May 2010, the Reillys stole more than $125,000 in undeserved Medicaid benefits by telling DSS that they lived in Freeport and that Michael was employed by KMR Contracting, earning about $28,000 per year. In reality, Rice said, the Reillys owned KRM Contracting and deposited more than $1 million into their personal and business bank accounts. The couple also lied about living in Nassau County, Rice said. They each face up to 15 years in prison if convicted. Michael Reilly is represented by Frank Doddato, Esq. and Katherine Reilly is represented by Michael Mirotznik, Esq. They were arraigned on Sept. 1 in First District Court, Hempstead.

-Ramon Colon, 49, of Freeport, was arrested Aug. 5 and charged with Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, Welfare Fraud in the Second Degree, and two counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree. Rice said that between September 2003 and July 2009, Colon stole more than $70,000 in undeserved Medicaid benefits by concealing the purchase of four homes and the rental income he earned from them and underreporting his income to DSS. Colon’s bank records show deposits of more than $782,000 during this time period. He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted. He is represented by Kenneth Pryor, Esq. and is due back in court Sept. 13.

-Gullu Kumar, 46, and Roopa Kumari, 43, of Levittown, were arrested July 13 and charged with Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, Welfare Fraud in the Second Degree, and three counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree. Rice said that between December 2002 and August 2009, the Kumars stole more than $53,000 in undeserved Medicaid benefits by claiming that Gullu earned $300 per week working at Positive Cellular. In reality, according to Rice, the Kumars owned the store, as well as bank deposits of more than $600,000 during this time period. They each face up to 15 years in prison if convicted. They are represented by Stephen Worth, Esq. and are due back in court Sept, 22.

-Enmanuel, 51, and Adalgisa Gilbert, 34, of Westbury, were arrested on Aug. 9 and charged with Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, Welfare Fraud in the Third Degree, and two counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree. Rice said that between May 2007 and November 2008, the Gilberts stole more than $17,000 in undeserved Medicaid benefits by underreporting their income and claiming their only resources were a car and $10 in the bank. In reality, Rice said, the Gilberts owned their own home, as well as three rental properties that earned them more than $10,000 per month. They each face up to seven years in prison if convicted. They are represented by Howard Arber, Esq. and are due back in court Oct. 12.

Assistant District Attorney Andrew Weiss of the Medicaid Fraud Unit is handling the cases for the District Attorney’s Office. The charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.