TRENTON B Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman announced that the operators of a Middlesex County medical supply store have pleaded guilty for their roles in a scheme to defraud the New Jersey Medicaid program out of at least $150,000.
Marina Finkel, 50, of Staten Island, New York, and Yelena Medvedik, 40, of Holmdel, each pleaded guilty yesterday (Oct. 3) to separate criminal accusations charging them each with second-degree conspiracy and second-degree health care claims fraud before Superior Court Judge Anthony J. Mellaci, Jr., in Monmouth County.
Judge Mellaci scheduled sentencing for Jan. 31, 2014. Under the plea agreement, the state will recommend that Finkel and Medvedik each be sentenced to three years in state prison. Finkel and Medvedik will pay a total of $300,000, which includes restitution and a civil penalty. In addition, the defendants will be debarred from participating in the Medicaid program for eight years.
In pleading guilty, the defendants, who operated DNT Medical LLC, a.k.a. Comfort Health, a medical supply store located in Highland Park, admitted that between Oct. 3, 2006 and Dec. 16, 2011, they conspired to defraud the Medicaid program through the submission of false claims.
“Through their scheme, these defendants scammed the Medicaid system, a system that is meant to help New Jersey’s most vulnerable population,” Acting Attorney General Hoffman said. “Through the hard work of the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor, their greed was exposed and now they will have to pay the serious consequences.”
“This conviction shows that committing insurance fraud means prison,” Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Chillemi said. “The debarment from Medicaid and the hundreds of thousands of dollars in restitution and penalties show that the crime is financially crippling as well.”
An undercover investigation by the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor determined that Finkel and Medvedik caused false claims to be submitted to Medicaid for reimbursement for orthopedic shoes when the shoes dispensed were not actually orthopedic and did not qualify for reimbursement. As a result of the fraud, the defendants obtained more than $150,000 to which they were not entitled.
Deputy Attorney General Oriana Nadraga, Sgt. Joseph Jaruszewski and Detective Jacqueline Latty were assigned to the investigation. Deputy Attorney General Nadraga represented the state at the guilty plea hearings. Deputy Attorney General Derek Miller is assigned to the forfeiture matter. Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Chillemi thanked Deputy Attorney General Nina Bonner, Principal Research Analyst Bethany Schussler, Medicaid Analyst James Reilly, and Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services Consultant Cynthia Minelli for their roles in the investigation. In addition, Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Chillemi thanked the New Jersey Office of Legislative Services for referring the matter.
Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Chillemi noted that some important cases have started with anonymous tips. People who are concerned about insurance cheating and have information about a fraud can report it anonymously by calling the toll‑free hotline at 1‑877‑55‑FRAUD, or visiting the Web site at www.NJInsurancefraud.org. State regulations permit a reward to be paid to an eligible person who provides information that leads to an arrest, prosecution and conviction for insurance fraud.