NEW YORK (WABC) -- Four New York City area doctors are among 20 people and more than a dozen corporations facing charges in a massive health care fraud scheme that allegedly scammed Medicaid, Medicare and other publicly funded insurance providers of millions of dollars.
The 878-count indictment was announced Tuesday by the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office and covers three years of alleged fraud.
The DA said the operation was sophisticated and involved office staff, recruiters, managers, billers and money launderers.
They targeted low-income areas -- including a soup kitchen in the East New York section of Brooklyn and a job center in the Bushwick section -- and paid people cash of $30 to $40 in exchange for going to a clinic for unnecessary tests, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors said in one instance, an undercover officer was recruited and paid $30 to undergo tests at a clinic. The officer spend about an hour there with no doctor present. Records later showed that the office billed for 18 separate tests for that visit, which had they all been performed would have taken more than 12 hours to complete.
The four doctors charged are:
Dr. Hamid Alam, M.D., 49, of Jericho, New York
Dr. Kevin Custis, M.D., 53, of Belle Meade, New Jersey
Dr. Jeffrey Chess, 53, M.D., of Glen Head, New York
Dr. Robert Vaccarino, M.D., 61, of Breezy Point, New York
Vaccarino also served as an NYPD surgeon.
Here's a look at mugshots for each of the people charged, as released by the Brooklyn DA's Office:
The alleged ring leader was 35-year-old Kristina Mirbabayeva, of Bridge Street in downtown Brooklyn. Dr. Custis is accused of being her business partner.
Other high-level people accused of being involved in the scheme include: Vladislav Yakubov, 46, of Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, who allegedly managed recruiting clinics with Kamal Zafar, 49, of South Huntington, New York. The alleged money launderers are Natan Yusufov, 54, of Ocean Parkway, Brooklyn, Igor Shamayev, 47, of Midwood, and Vitalik Ifraimov, 58, of Ocean Parkway.
Court documents allege that those involved in the scheme laundered money through bank account of shell companies, including ones in China, Singapore, Lithuania, Pakistan, Taiwan, and Turkey. The money was then transferred to some of the people charged in the scheme.
Prosecutors said these people used the money to purchase expensive real estate, including Mirbabayeva's $3.25 million apartment in downtown Brooklyn, and Yakubov's $2.8 million apartment in Brighton Beach.
The Brooklyn DA's Office released these evidence photos, showing the various locations involved, the apartments purchased and social media photos from one of the suspects:
Brooklyn officials have frozen 11 properties worth more than $10 million and more than 100 bank accounts allegedly belonging to the people charged in the case.
If convicted, those charged in the case could face up to 25 years in prison.
Below is the full list of names of people and companies charged in the case:
1. Dr. Hamid Alam, M.D., 49, of Jericho, New York.
2. Donnie Bryant, a.k.a., Malik, 52, of DeKalb Avenue, Brooklyn.
3. Dr. Kevin Custis, M.D., 53, of Belle Meade, New Jersey.
4. Dr. Jeffrey Chess, 53, M.D., of Glen Head, New York.
5. Irina Fedorova, 56, of East 1st Street, Brooklyn.
6. Darren Ford, 51, of New York Avenue, Brooklyn.
7. Boris Gibel, 41, of Flagg Place, Staten Island.
8. Vitalik Ifraimov, 58, of Ocean Parkway, Brooklyn.
9. Deon Johnson, a.k.a., Yung, 32, of Tapscott Street, Brooklyn.
10. Sukhrob Kabilov, 37, of Flushing, New York.
11. Alexander Kopenkin, 31, of Bridge Street, Brooklyn.
12. Gledis Leyzer, 24, of Oceana Drive, Brooklyn.
13. Kristina Mirbabayeva, 35, of Bridge Street, Brooklyn.
14. Albert Normatov, 42, of Ocean Avenue, Brooklyn.
15. David Riley, 48, of New York Avenue, Brooklyn.
16. Igor Shamayev, a.k.a., Igor, 47, of East 24th Street, Brooklyn.
17. Dr. Robert Vaccarino, M.D., 61, of Breezy Point, New York.
18. Vladislav Yakubov, 46, of Oceana Drive, Brooklyn.
19. Natan Yusufov, 54, of Ocean Parkway, Brooklyn.
20. Kamal Zafar, 49, of Huntington, New York.
21. Advanced Multi-Diagnostic Services Inc.
22. Capi Solutions
23. CK Medical Diagnostic Services, P.C.
24. Comprehensive Medical Diagnostic, P.C.
25. Hasadim Services, Inc.
26. IMC Supply, Inc.
27. Lucent, Inc.
28. Professional Marketing Group
29. Pro-Imaging Services, Inc.
30. Rekonekt, Inc.
31. Rom Blt
32. Total Enterprises
33. Tovushi, Inc.
34. Universal Imaging Company, Inc.
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4 NYC area doctors among 20 charged in massive health care fraud scheme