There are so many ways to cheat the system. And, as the Allegiant Experts Blog has long showcased, there are people all over our country who continue to find those ways. Aleksandr Pikus is one of them. Thankfully, he also happens to be one of the many health care fraudsters to face serious prison time for his illegal deeds.
As reported by the Eastern District of New York branch of the United States Department of Justice, earlier this week, Pikus will be spending the next 13 years of his life behind bars. The sentencing follows his November 2019 guilty verdict. A federal jury convicted him of one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, two counts of money laundering, one count of conspiracy to pay and receive health care kickbacks and one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States by obstructing the IRS.
Pikus will also have to pay huge sum of money in restitution.
He owes $23 million to Medicare, $16 million to Medicaid and $433,297 to the Internal Revenue Service. Pikus will also have to forfeit $2,614,233.79.
According to the evidence presented in his trial, Pikus spent about a decade perpetrating his health care kickback scheme. Along with co-conspirators, he manipulated a number of medical clinics in the Brooklyn and Queens areas of New York City. Those clinics employed doctors, physical and occupational therapists and other medical professionals who were all enrolled in the Medicare and Medicaid programs.
“In return for illegal kickbacks, Pikus referred beneficiaries to these health care providers, who submitted claims to the Medicare and Medicaid programs,” reports the DoJ, “Pikus and his co-conspirators then laundered a substantial portion of the proceeds of these claims through companies he controlled, including by cashing checks at several New York City check-cashing businesses.”
Pikus failed to report his cash income to the IRS.
Of course, he found many uses for his illegally-obtained money. In addition to enriching himself, he paid kickbacks to patient recruiters. They then paid beneficiaries to receive treatment at the medical clinics. In addition, evidence at trial showed that Pikus and his co-conspirators used sham shell companies and fake invoices to conceal their illegal activities.
Pikus, however, isn’t your average health care fraudster. He threatened violence against those who he felt may unveil his illegal actions to the authorities including one co-conspirator who mentioned leaving the scheme. At trial, recordings of Pikus’ threats were played. They included everything from broken legs to murder.
HHS-OIG Special Agent-in-Charge Scott J. Lampert offered the following statement about the scheme: “Pikus was the kingpin running a massive money laundering and kickback health care fraud syndicate. Now, like others who plot to steal from government health programs, he is paying a heavy price for his crimes. Along with our law enforcement partners, we will continue to root out individuals who steal vital taxpayer-provided health funds.”
Are you an attorney who is currently trying a health care fraud case?
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