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October 16, 2015

Operators of Medical Equipment Supply Company Convicted in $1.5 Million Medicare Fraud Scheme

A federal jury in Los Angeles convicted the former owner and the former operator of a durable medical equipment supply company of health care fraud charges in connection with a $1.5 million Medicare fraud scheme.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker of the Central District of California, Special Agent in Charge Chris Schrank of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services-Office of the Inspector General’s (HHS-OIG) Los Angeles Region, Assistant Director in Charge David Bowdich of the FBI’s Los Angeles Division and Special Agent in Charge David Jett of the California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse made the announcement.

Amalya Cherniavsky, 41, and her husband, Vladislav Tcherniavsky, 46, of Long Beach, California, were both convicted late yesterday of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and five counts of health care fraud. Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 14, 2015, before U.S. District Judge Terry J. Hatter Jr. of the Central District of California, who presided over the trial.

The evidence at trial demonstrated that Cherniavsky owned JC Medical Supply (JC Medical), a purported durable medical equipment (DME) supply company, and that she co-operated the company with her husband, Tcherniavsky. According to the trial evidence, the defendants paid illegal kickbacks to patient recruiters in exchange for patient referrals. The evidence further showed that the defendants paid kickbacks to physicians for fraudulent prescriptions—primarily for expensive, medically unnecessary power wheelchairs—which the defendants then used to support fraudulent bills to Medicare.

According to the evidence presented at trial, between 2006 and 2013, the defendants submitted $1,520,727 in fraudulent claims to Medicare and received $783,756 in reimbursement for those claims.

The case was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, supervised by the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Central District of California. The case was investigated by the FBI, HHS-OIG’s Los Angeles Regional Office and the California Department of Justice. The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Blanca Quintero and Kevin R. Gingras of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.

Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged more than 2,300 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $7 billion. In addition, HHS’s Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with HHS-OIG, is taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.

To learn more about the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), go to:www.stopmedicarefraud.gov.

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