Home Health Agency Owner Sentenced to 54 Months in Prison for Over $100 Million in Health Care Fraud | USAO-SDNY

Damien Williams, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that MARIANA LEVIN has been sentenced to 54 months in prison for her leading role in a broad fraud scheme that defrauded Medicaid of home health and personal care services that actually were not carried out, resulting in a loss of more than $100 million. United States District Judge John P. Cronan imposed the sentence. LEVIN pleaded guilty to wire fraud on June 1, 2022.

U.S. Attorney Damien Williams said, “For years, Mariana Levine, owner of a Brooklyn-based home health agency, defrauded taxpayers through a massive, fraudulent home health scheme. As part of the scheme, Levin billed tens of millions of dollars to Medicaid for home health services that were not actually provided. As a result, the scheme diverted much-needed resources intended to support services for vulnerable people. Today’s sentencing sends a message that those who engage in health care fraud schemes will face stiff penalties.

According to federal court filings and filings:

Since or about 2015, LEVIN engaged in a widespread fraud scheme through which she and her co-conspirators defrauded Medicaid for home health and personal care services that were not actually provided. At the time of the scheme, LEVIN served in a senior executive position at a licensed home care agency based in Brooklyn, New York (“Agency-1”). In or about 2016, LEVIN and her co-conspirators opened a second licensed home care agency based in Brooklyn (“Agency-2” and, together with Agency-1, the “Agencies”). LEVIN was the owner of Agency-2 and also continued her leadership role in Agency-1.

The agencies claimed to provide home health and personal care to patients living in all five boroughs of New York and Nassau County. Collectively, the Agencies employed approximately 3,000 home health and personal care aides (“Aides”). Most of the aides were licensed to provide home health aide and personal care services.

Home care is health services provided in the patient’s home to promote, maintain or restore health or to reduce the effects of illness and disability. Home care includes personal care services administered by aides, including housekeeping, meal preparation, bathing, toileting, and grooming.

From or about 2015 to or about December 2020, Medicaid reimbursed the Agencies for hundreds of millions of dollars for home health and personal care services. A significant part of the Agencies’ invoices were fraudulent. Specifically, the Agencies billed Medicaid for “no-show” cases in which aides claimed to be performing home health or personal care when they were not. At times when aides falsely claimed to be performing home health or personal care services, they were actually staying at home, running personal errands, going on vacation, and interacting with family and friends. The fraud at the agencies coincided with the rising cost of home care in New York State. In or around January 2020, the New York State Budget Director announced, in substance and in part, that home health care spending had tripled between fiscal years 2013 and 2019, an increase of $4.8 billion.

In Agency no-show cases, fraudulently obtained aide wages were often split between the no-show aide and the no-show patient. In addition to paying bribes to no-show patients, absentee Aides sometimes paid bribes to co-conspirators who referred cases of aide no-shows to the Agencies.

LEVIN and her co-conspirators also engaged in other fraudulent activities to increase billing to the Agencies and increase the amount of money paid to the Agencies.

In the course of the scheme, LEVIN received more than $5 million in compensation from the agencies.

In sentencing, Judge Cronan emphasized the seriousness of LEVIN’s involvement in the fraud, the losses it had caused and the need to deter other businesses and home care workers from committing similar offences.

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In addition to her prison sentence, MARIANA LEVIN, 49, of Brooklyn, New York, was ordered to forfeit $1,496,000 and pay restitution of $36,328,183.

Mr. Williams praised the investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

This case is being handled by the Office’s Complex Fraud and Cybercrime Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Nicholas W. Ciucciolo and Daniel G. Nesim are prosecuting.

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