Brooklyn Dentist Admits To $550,000 Dental Fraud
Attorney General Spitzer today announced that a Brooklyn dentist has admitted to a six-year Medicaid fraud scheme that cost taxpayers $550,000 for dental services that were never provided to patients.
Seven other individuals - including six dentists and a Queens man who posed as a dentist for more than two years - have also been arrested as part of a citywide crackdown by the Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU). In total, the eight defendants are accused of defrauding the Medicaid program of nearly $1 million.
The yearlong investigation was conducted, in part, by having undercover agents visit dental offices posing as Medicaid recipients, and by exams of actual patients. Charges filed against the eight defendants include: a patient injured as a result of being treated by an unlicensed individual; dentists fraudulently charging Medicaid for services that were never provided; a dentist, who had been thrown out of the Medicaid program, billing under the name of another dentist; and Medicaid patients being forced to pay cash for procedures.
Spitzer said, "The defendants preyed upon our poorest citizens solely to enrich themselves, and, in the process, defrauded state taxpayers of nearly $1 million. We are committed to using the full resources of my office to not only vigorously combat such fraud, but to make sure that all monies fraudulently obtained are returned to both the Medicaid program and patients."
Deputy Attorney General Jos? Maldonado, director of MFCU, said, "We have a special responsibility to protect our citizens from exploitation - especially from scam artists who portray themselves as dentists and then operate on unsuspecting patients. Licensing requirements for dentists and other health care professionals are designed to protect the health and safety of the public. By circumventing those protections, such unscrupulous individuals place the safety of the public in jeopardy."
Appearing in Brooklyn Supreme Court late yesterday afternoon, Dr. Julia Boginsky, who maintains a dental practice on 20th Avenue in Brooklyn, pleaded guilty as charged to felony Grand Larceny in the Third Degree and agreed to repay $550,000 to the Medicaid program. Sentencing was set for January 16, 2002.
According to the complaint filed in the case, between November 1993 and October 1999, Dr. Boginsky claimed she had provided recipients with certain dental procedures - such as amalgam and resin restorations, and perioscaling and root planing - when, in fact, the services were never performed.
In other cases:
- Queens resident Igor Zlotin was charged with masquerading as a dentist for more than two years at the Esor Dental Clinic in Forest Hills and performing invasive procedures on patients - including root canal, crowns, and fillings. Zlotin was also charged with defrauding Medicaid patients by demanding cash from them - ranging from $200 to more than $10,000 - for dental services.
- Yelena Tkachenko was charged with practicing dentistry without a license at the Painless Dental Center in Brooklyn in 1998 and 1999, and physically injuring a patient while performing a root canal procedure. Tkachenko, who became a licensed dentist in July 2000, was also charged with submitting bogus Medicaid claims under the provider number of Dr. Yevgeny Pisarevsky, the Center's owner, and falsifying patient charts.
- Manhattan dentist Aziz Khan, who was disqualified from the Medicaid program in 1998, was charged with fraudulently using the provider number of a Bronx dentist - Dr. Abdullah Amin - to bill Medicaid for services he provided to patients. Dr. Amin was also charged for participating in the fraud.
The other three defendants - Drs. Mumlikat Aziz and Danette Holmes, of the Bronx, and Dr. Stephen Brenner, of Brooklyn - were charged with billing Medicaid for various dental services never provided to patients.
Spitzer thanked the State Department of Health (DOH) for referring several of the cases to his office. He also thanked State Senator David Rosado for initially forwarding the Dr. Holmes complaint to DOH on behalf of a constituent.
Spitzer noted that his office has referred those cases involving licensed dentists to the State Education Department's Office of the Professions for a review of their licenses.
Special Assistant Attorneys General Michael R. Berlowitz, Arlene S. Osterer, Diane M. McFarlane, Mark P. Cannon, and Cassandra Bethel, of the MFCU's New York City Regional Office, are prosecuting the cases. All cases are handled under the direct supervision of Deputy Attorney General Jos? Maldonado.
The charges are accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
SEE ATTACHED ADDENDUM FOR DETAILS ON EACH DEFENDANT
DR. ABDULLAH AMIN, 50, of 23-57 33rd Street in Astoria, Queens, maintains a practice at Dhaka Dental, P.C., located at 113 East 183rd Street in the Bronx. On October 22nd, Dr. Amin was arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court and pleaded guilty to one count of Falsifying Business Records in the Second Degree. He was immediately sentenced to a conditional discharge and ordered to pay $8,000 in restitution to the Medicaid program. (NEW YORK COUNTY)
DR. MUMLIKAT AZIZ, 53, of 328 Sipp Avenue in Jersey City, New Jersey, maintains a practice at 1466 Grand Concourse in the Bronx. Dr. Aziz was charged with one count of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, a Class E felony punishable by up to four years in prison. (BRONX COUNTY)
DR. JULYA BOGINSKY, 39, of 1965 Broadway in Manhattan, maintains a practice at 8520 20th Avenue in Brooklyn. (KINGS COUNTY)
DR. STEPHEN BRENNER, 50, of 100 Redwood Drive in Roslyn, New York, maintains practices at 1761 and 2042 Rockaway Parkway in Brooklyn. Dr. Brenner was charged with two counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the Second Degree, a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison. (KINGS COUNTY)
DR. DANETTE HOLMES, 46, of 89-97 221st Street in Queens, maintains a practice at 1245 Southern Boulevard in the Bronx. On October 23rd, Dr. Holmes was charged in Bronx Criminal Court with one count of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, one count of Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree, and one count of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree. If convicted, she faces up to seven years in prison. (BRONX COUNTY)
DR. AZIZ KHAN, 50, of 61 Fox Lane in Dix Hills, New York, maintains a practice at 570 West 125th Street in Manhattan. Dr. Khan was charged with one count of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree and one count of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree. If convicted, he faces up to seven years in prison. (NEW YORK COUNTY)
DR. YELENA TKACHENKO (a/k/a Dr. Lana), 33, of 729 Mulberry Place in North Woodmere, New York, worked at the Painless Dental Center, located at 907 St. Marks Avenue in Brooklyn. Dr. Tkachenko was charged in a 33-count indictment with twenty counts of Unauthorized Practice of a Profession, one count of Assault in the Second Degree, one count of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, ten counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree and one count of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree. If convicted, she faces up to seven years in prison. (KINGS COUNTY)
IGOR ZLOTIN (a/k/a Gary Zlotin), 35, of 110-11 Queens Boulevard in Forest Hills, Queens, worked at Esor Dental Clinic, located at 115-10 Queens Boulevard, also in Forest Hills. Zlotin was charged with five counts of Unauthorized Practice of a Profession (Dentistry) one count of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, one count of Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, and one count of Petit Larceny. If convicted, he faces up to seven years in prison. (QUEENS COUNTY)