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Feds indict 24 in $1.2 billion healthcare fraud scheme

by Thomas Dworetzky, Contributing Reporter | April 11, 2019

The ill-gotten gains were then allegedly laundered through international shell corporations and used to purchase exotic automobiles, yachts and luxury real estate in the U.S. and abroad.

Charges were brought in California, Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Texas.

Among those charged are:

Creaghan Harry, 51, of Highland Beach, Florida; Lester Stockett, 51, of Deefield Beach, Florida; and Elliot Loewenstern, 56, of Boca Raton, Florida; Dr. Joseph DeCoroso, 62, of Toms River, New Jersey; Willie McNeal, 42, of Spring Hill, Florida; Leah Hagen, 48, and Michael Hagen, 51, of Dalworthington Gardens, Texas; Christopher O’Hara, 54, of Kingsbury, Texas; Dr. Randy Swackhammer, 60, of Goldsboro, North Carolina; Darin Flashberg, 41, of Glendora, California, and Najib Jabbour, 47, of Glendora, California; Andrew Chmiel, 43, of Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina; Neal Williamsky 59, of Marlboro, New Jersey, and Nadia Levit, 39, of Englishtown, New Jersey; Albert Davydov, 26, of Rego Park, New York.

The news comes on the heels of the conviction on April 5 of a South Florida businessman over a billion-dollar-plus Medicare and Medicaid scheme.

Nursing home operator Philip Esformes was found guilty on 20 counts of an 18-year fraud that involved both money laundering and kickbacks. He also bribed his son into the University of Pennsylvania, according to Bloomberg and the DOJ.

“Philip Esformes orchestrated one of the largest healthcare fraud schemes in U.S. history, defrauding Medicare and Medicaid to the tune of over a billion dollars,” Benczkowski said in a statement.

From 1998 through mid-2016, Esformes led a scheme in which he bribed doctors to admit patients into his network of assisted living facilities and skilled nursing facilities. He then “cycled the patients through his facilities, where they often failed to receive appropriate medical services, or received medically unnecessary services, which were then billed to Medicare and Medicaid,” the evidence showed.

Esformes received more than $37 million from his multi-pronged scheme, according to evidence presented in court and recounted in the Justice Department statement.

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