Damian Williams, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that MARIANNA LEVIN was sentenced to 54 months in prison for her leading role in an extensive fraud scheme that defrauded Medicaid for home health and personal care services. which were not in fact. given, resulting in the loss of more than $100 million. United States District Judge John P. Cronan imposed the sentence. LEVIN pleaded guilty to wire fraud on June 1, 2022.
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “For years, Marianna Levin, owner of a Brooklyn-based health agency, defrauded taxpayers through a 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 provided. As a result, the scheme diverted much-needed resources to support services for vulnerable individuals. Today’s sentencing 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 or around 2015, LEVIN engaged in a widespread fraud scheme through which she and her co-conspirators defrauded Medicaid of home health and personal care services that were not actually provided. 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 its affiliates 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 her leadership role at Agency-1.
The agencies purported to provide home health and personal care services to patients residing in the five boroughs of New York City and Nassau County. Combined, the Agencies employed approximately 3,000 home health and personal care aides (“Aides”). Most aides were licensed to provide home health aides 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, washing, toileting, and grooming.
From or about 2015 through or about December 2020, Medicaid reimbursed agencies hundreds of millions of dollars for home health and personal care services. A significant proportion of agency 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 health or personal care services at home, they were, in fact, staying at home, doing personal tasks, taking vacations, and socializing with family and friends. Fraud at the Agencies coincided with the high costs of home care in New York State. In or around January 2020, the New York State budget director announced, in substance and in part, that spending in the home health space tripled between fiscal years 2013 and 2019, representing an increase of $4.8 billion.
With agency no-show cases, wages fraudulently obtained by an aide were often split between the no-show aide and the no-show patient. In addition to paying bribes for no-show patients, No-Show Aides sometimes paid bribes to conspirators who referred no-show cases to agency aides.
LEVIN and her associates also engaged in other fraudulent activities to inflate the agency’s billing and increase the amount of money paid to the agencies.
During the course of the scheme, LEVIN received more than $5 million in compensation from the agencies.
In sentencing, Judge Cronan emphasized the seriousness of LEVIN’s involvement in the fraud, the losses he caused and the need to deter businesses and other home care workers from engaging in similar crimes.
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In addition to the prison sentence, 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 Fraud and Cyber Crimes Unit. Assistant US Attorneys Nicholas W. Chiuchiolo and Daniel G. Nessim are prosecuting the case.
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