Columbus Home Health Operator Sentenced in Fraud Scheme
COLUMBUS—The owner of Columbus-based Janis Home Health Care, Eric Isakov, 45, was sentenced to 42 months in prison, followed by two years of supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution of $900,000 for defrauding the Medicare and Medicaid programs by paying kickbacks in the form of gift cards and videogame systems to people who would sign up with his company, and paying senior living centers for referrals.
Carter M. Stewart, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Kevin Cornelius, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Lamont Pugh III, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced the sentence handed down today by U.S. District Judge Edmund A. Sargus Jr.
Isakov pleaded guilty on February 6, 2014 to one count of health care fraud.
According to testimony at the plea hearing, Isakov paid people to sign up with Janis then billed Medicare for services the company provided to them between January 2010 and March 2013. Isakov also paid patients’ uncovered costs for durable medical equipment such as walkers, rollers and canes, and paid monthly emergency monitoring services for several patients in return for their agreement to allow Janis to provide home health services.
Isakov also paid $30,000 in kickbacks in the form of gift cards and cash to service coordinators of senior living facilities and employees of physician groups in exchange for the referral of residents/patients to Janis for home health care services.
Medicare and Medicaid rules prohibit service providers from paying for referrals or providing kickbacks because such practices could encourage people to sign up for unnecessary health care services.
Separately, Isakov agreed to pay $1.8 million to the United States to settle civil fraud claims. He also agreed to surrender all medical and other state and federal licenses allowing him to practice in any health care and terminate his status as a provider for Medicare and Medicaid. The Ohio Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy and Athletic Trainers Board also revoked Isakov’s physical therapist license.
Stewart commended Assistant United States Attorney Ken Affeldt and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Constance Nearhood with Ohio Attorney General DeWine’s Office who represented the United States in the criminal case, Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Malek who represented the United States in the civil case, the cooperative investigation conducted by FBI agents, Health and Human Services Inspector General agents, and agents in Attorney General DeWine’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, and the licensing actions taken by the Physical Therapy Board. Ohioans can report suspected Medicaid fraud to Attorney General DeWine’s office by calling 1-800-282-0515 or visiting www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov.
Individuals or health care company employees who suspect fraud against government health insurance programs can also report them anonymously online at www.stopmedicarefraud.gov, or by calling 1-800-HHS-TIPS (800-447-8477).