February 12, 2015

Four Arrested for Conspiring to Commit Health Care Fraud and Money Laundering

HOUSTON—Aliksandr Beketav, 53, Mikhail Shiforenko, 43, Alexsandr Voronov, 46, and Daniela Gozes-Wagner, 32, have been arrested following the return of a federal indictment alleging a health care fraud conspiracy and conspiracy to commit money laundering, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson.

The two-count Indictment was returned Dec. 17, 2014, and unsealed following their initial appearances before U.S. Magistrate Stephen W. Smith this afternoon. They were temporarily ordered into custody pending a hearing set for Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015, at 2:00 p.m.

Shiforenko, Voronov and Gozes-Wagner are all residents of Houston, while Beketav is from Calabasas, Calif.

The indictment alleges that from approximately 2007 through the present, the defendants conspired to falsely bill Medicare and Medicaid for numerous unnecessary medical tests. According to the indictment, they paid Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries to visit so-called “testing facilities” run by the defendants in the Houston area. The defendants caused employees of the testing facilities to visit purportedly homebound beneficiaries (to whom the defendants gained access by way of collusive arrangements with home-health care agencies) in order to conduct diagnostic tests on the beneficiaries at their homes, according to the allegations. The defendants then allegedly caused Medicare and Medicaid to be billed for diagnostic tests that were not performed or were not medically necessary.

In order to hide their fraud from authorities, the indictment alleges they would frequently change the names of the testing facilities and medical professionals listed in the bills submitted to Medicare and Medicaid. For example, if bills submitted to Medicare listing a particular doctor drew scrutiny from reviewing officials, defendants would allegedly cause that doctor’s name to be removed from future submissions, and for another doctor’s name to be substituted on the bill.

The defendants allegedly operated, among others, Dashwood Doctors Medical Clinic, Southwest Healthcare & Diagnostics, Harwin Healthcare & Diagnostic, Hilcroft Healthcare & Diagnostic, Gulfton Healthcare Inc., Westpark Healthcare & Diagnostics, Village Diagnostic Clinic Inc., and 7111 Medical Clinic Inc. in the Houston area, where these tests were purported to have been done. According to the indictment, the defendants submitted more than $28 million in fraudulent Medicare and Medicaid claims under the auspices of those eight facilities, of which Medicare and Medicaid paid more than $11 million.

The Indictment also alleges that from 2007 through the present, the defendants conspired to launder money which were proceeds of their health care fraud.

If convicted of conspiring to commit health care fraud, each faces up to 10 years in federal prison. For conspiring to launder money, they also face 20 years in federal prison, upon conviction. The Indictment also seeks forfeiture of at least $11,440,349 alleged to constitute the proceeds of the unlawful scheme.

The charges are the result of the investigative efforts of the FBI, Texas Attorney General’s Office—Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, and Department of Health and Human Services – Office of Inspector General with the assistance of the Office of Personnel Management and the Railroad Retirement Board. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael Chu and Jason Smith are prosecuting the case.

An Indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.