Doctor and Acupuncturist Sentenced in Manhattan Federal Court for Operating Medical Fraud Mill
|U.S. Attorney’s Office February 01, 2010|
PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that ROMILLA ANWAR and ANATOLY SUNIK were sentenced on Friday, January 29, 2010, to 30 months and 12 months in prison, respectively, in Manhattan federal court by United States District Judge LEWIS A. KAPLAN on health care fraud charges. SUNIK and ANWAR each pleaded guilty in April of 2009, stemming from their operation of a medical fraud mill operating as the Avenue K Medical Clinic (the "Clinic"). According to the Criminal complaint, Indictment, guilty pleas and court filings:
From May 2006 to June 2008, the Clinic routinely billed automobile insurance companies under the no-fault program for medical "treatments" which were either never provided or unnecessary, because the person being "treated" did not medically need the treatments. Under New York State Law, no-fault insurance enables the driver and passengers of a vehicle registered and insured in New York to obtain benefits of up to $50,000 per person for injuries sustained in an automobile accident, regardless of fault.
The Clinic billed automobile insurance companies under the no-fault program for unnecessary medical treatments that were provided to patients who were in car accidents. In the first two years of its operation, the Clinic billed insurance companies a total of approximately $3.6 million for no-fault medical services on behalf of more than 500 patients and, as of June 2008, had received approximately $1.2 million from these insurance companies.
ANWAR served as the Clinic's nominal owner and treating physician, and, in that role, she performed perfunctory examinations of patients and recommended treatments she knew to be unnecessary. At her guilty plea, Anwar stated: "On many occasions individuals were prescribed DME [Durable Medical Equipment] which were unnecessary because the individuals were either slightly injured or not injured at all. I also ordered MRIs which were unnecessary due to the fact that the individuals were either slightly injured or not injured at all." SUNIK, the Clinic's acupuncturist, routinely billed insurance companies for 30 minutes of acupuncture even though he often provided only a few minutes treatment.
ANWAR, SUNIK and ten others associated with the Clinic were arrested in July 2008, including two of the Clinic's owners, SVIATOSLAV JADAN and SAMUEL VILSHANETSKI. JADAN was previously sentenced to 30 months in prison and VILSHANETSKI is scheduled to be sentenced on March 19, 2010.
In addition to the prison term, ANWAR, 48, of New Providence, New Jersey, and SUNIK, 62, of Rego Park, New York, were each sentenced to three years of supervised release and also ordered to pay restitution in an amount to be set at a later date.
Mr. BHARARA praised the investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Mr. BHARARA also extended his thanks to the National Insurance Crime Bureau for their assistance in the investigation.
Assistant United States Attorneys ARLO DEVLIN-BROWN and ARIANNA R. BERG are in charge of the prosecution.