New York physician gets prison time for role in $30M billing scheme

A physician was sentenced to one year and a day in prison for participating in a $30 million scheme to defraud Medicare and the New York State Medicaid Program, according to the Department of Justice.

In January, Ewald Antoine, MD, pleaded guilty to healthcare fraud and conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud, mail fraud and wire fraud. According to the indictment, Dr. Antoine posed as the owner of two medical clinics in Brooklyn — Sunlight Medical and Psychiatric Services and Coney Island Medical Services — and falsely claimed he examined and treated hundreds of patients at the two clinics.

The medical clinics were actually owned by businessman Aleksandr Burman, who owned and operated six medical clinics in Brooklyn between 2007 and 2013. New York law requires medical clinics to be owned and operated by a medical professional, but Mr. Burman circumvented this requirement by hiring physicians, including Dr. Antoine, to pose as clinic owners. Dr. Antoine signed documents falsely representing to banks, Medicare, Medicaid and others that he was the sole owner of the two clinics, according to the Justice Department.

Mr. Burman and his co-conspirators used the six medical clinics to submit $30 million in fraudulent claims to Medicare and Medicaid. Dr. Antoine participated in the scheme by signing documents stating he examined patients and by writing prescriptions and referrals for medically unnecessary tests and supplies, according to the Department of Justice.

Dr. Antoine is the eighth defendant to be sentenced after pleading guilty to his role in the scheme and a related case. On Aug. 1, another physician was sentenced to 18 months in prison for participating in the scheme. In May 2017, Mr. Burman was sentenced to 10 years in prison for his involvement in the scheme.

Ayla Ellison contributed to this article.

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