Physical Therapy clinic accused of Medicare fraud

May 5, 2010 3:18:31 PM PDT
A Federal raid went down in Queens Wednesday morning on a physical therapy clinic in Queens. Four people are now charged with paying kickbacks to Medicare patients for therapy they never received, and didn't need in the first place.

The alleged Medicare fraud took in several million dollars.

Something just wasn't quite right at Solstice Wellness Center, a clinic that seemed to be thriving.

Wednesday morning agents with the Office of the Inspector General raided and shut down the operation, and arrested the head of the clinic, Dmitry Shteyman.

Authorities say the 35-year-old, along with his brother Aleksey and two other employees, paid people in the community $50 a visit for services like physical therapy and diagnostic tests that either weren't needed or never happened.

Solstice would then allegedly bill Medicare for the false claims.

OIG agents say red flags were popping up everywhere.

"Most Medicare beneficiaries shouldn't receive $200 or $300 physical sessions a year, that's mind boggling," said Tom O'Donnell, of the Office of the Inspector General.

Authorities say since the clinic opened 14 months ago, it falsely billed Medicare for millions by adding hundreds of phony patients who agreed to play along with the scheme.

Strike Force operations are in place in six other cities across the country.

So far, this is the biggest take down in this district.

"They really didn't have a health care background, but yet were running health care, so kind of puppet masters," said O'Donnell.

Agents added that they believe this is just the tip of the iceberg, that this ongoing investigation will uncover even more fraudulent activity.