Southern Brooklyn

Attorney General Holder Announces Arrests In Nationwide Medicare Fraud Sweep

Attorney General Eric Holder announces the law enforcement crackdown, resulting in the arrests of 91 people. Source: AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Without citing cases of specific crackdowns in Brooklyn, United States Attorney General Eric Holder, together with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and FBI Executive Assistant Director Shawn Henry, announced that charges have been brought up against defendants across the country for the “serious crime of defrauding the Medicare program.”

Ninety-one people — including 11 doctors, three nurses and 10 medical professionals — have been busted for their alleged participation in the nationwide Medicare fraud scheme, which spanned across eight major US cities, including Brooklyn, Baton Rouge, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles and Miami, and totaled a staggering $295 million in fraudulent billing practice, exceeding the previous largest sweep of arrests this past February, which involved upward of 40 unrelated schemes that cost taxpayers more than $240 million.

A little more than a month ago, our area saw two local apothecaries — Monica’s Pharmacy at 1324 Sheepshead Bay Road and L&A Pharmacy at 394 Avenue X — raided by federal agents, resulting in the arrests of Luba Balyasny, 46, and Alla Shrayber, 40. The two licensed pharmacists were charged with conspiracy to commit health care fraud.

According to Holder, “The indictments announced today serve as a powerful reminder that Medicare fraud is a nationwide problem. From Brooklyn, to Miami, to Los Angeles, the defendants allegedly treated the Medicare program like a personal piggy bank. But today’s law enforcement operations also serve as a wake-up call that our fight remains nationwide as well — and with increasingly successful results.”

From the Department of Justice’s website:

As charged in the indictments, the defendants cover nearly the entire spectrum of healthcare providers, and perpetrated a variety of fraudulent schemes. A doctor in Detroit allegedly billed Medicare for performing psychotherapy treatments more than 24 hours per day. He is also charged with billing the Medicare program for services provided to dead beneficiaries.

The owner of a healthcare referral business in Houston is charged with recruiting, in exchange for kickbacks, Medicare beneficiaries for approximately 100 different home healthcare agencies.

A supervisor at a community mental health center in Miami, that is charged with submitting over $50 million in fraudulent billings to Medicare, allegedly threatened to evict residents of a boarding house he also managed, unless they attended the center. A registered nurse, mental health counselors, and other healthcare professionals are charged with participating in the same scheme.


With Medicare Fraud Strike Force teams now in nine cities across the country, and employing sophisticated, data-driven law enforcement methods, we are determined to hold Medicare cheats criminally responsible. And that is exactly what we will continue to do.

Our relentless efforts to investigate and prosecute Medicare fraud over the past two-and-a-half years are only getting stronger. Just ask the registered nurse in Miami who was sentenced to 10 years in prison in August. Our investigative methods are becoming more sophisticated. Just ask the infusion therapy clinic owner in Detroit who was sentenced to 10 years in prison in March. And our resolve has never been greater. Just ask the Miami doctor who was sentenced to 19-and-a-half years in prison in June.

It is my great privilege to work with the dedicated Strike Force prosecutors of the Criminal Division and the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, and to partner with courageous law enforcement agents at the FBI and HHS-OIG. Together, we are waging an important battle to safeguard the Medicare program.

Comment policy


  1. About time.  Please let us know when the criminal’s property will be auctioned off, it would be good to buy a new Mercedes on the cheap.

  2. Two Russian Medicare Scammers down 1 Million to go.. Yawn… When The FBI Comes To Sheepshead Bay and the surrounding neighborhoods with buses to round up all the russian criminals, that’ll be a story with a happy ending.

    What the russian in Brooklyn alone steal could close the National Debt. Bentleys and foodstamps- nothing wrong there.

  3. Racist Asshat,  what about all the black people the shoot, stab, and steal from brooklynites on a DAILY Basis?


  4. As much as I hate to agree with this post, being Russian myself, I believe that every single medical facility that gets a large portion of its business from medicaid and medicare recipients needs to be investigated, not just in Brooklyn and NYC but the country as a whole.  However from my experience in the Russian community I know that medical fraud is simply out of control here.  If we want other groups to acknowledge their own crime problems we must acknowledge ours. 

  5. oh man are you crazy dont mention black race….its
    against the law nowadays. but to call out all russian SPEAKING people criminals
    and thief’s its ok. I must admit i would rather live in russian speaking ghetto
    then black ghetto. I don’t hear a Russian speaking youth terrorizing black
    ghettos, and our ghetto attracts more people and businesses. Lately i realize
    we indeed live in one crazy world….

  6. oh man are you crazy dont mention black race….its
    against the law nowadays. but to call out all russian SPEAKING people criminals
    and thief’s its ok. I must admit i would rather live in russian speaking ghetto
    then black ghetto. I don’t hear a Russian speaking youth terrorizing black
    ghettos, and our ghetto attracts more people and businesses. Lately i realize
    we indeed live in one crazy world….

  7. oh man are you crazy dont mention black race….its
    against the law nowadays. but to call out all russian SPEAKING people criminals
    and thief’s its ok. I must admit i would rather live in russian speaking ghetto
    then black ghetto. I don’t hear a Russian speaking youth terrorizing black
    ghettos, and our ghetto attracts more people and businesses. Lately i realize
    we indeed live in one crazy world….

  8. You think our community is bad….you call yourself
    russian. Why dont you start digging up dirty laundry of other ethnic groups, I guarantee
    you will find even worse crimes…….ты ёбнатый эгоист

  9. wow what a brainless post.  This thread is about Medicaid fraud not crime in general.  So just because there are bad crimes in other communities we should ignore the crimes that happen under our own noses?  Let me guess , you are one of those people that cheer for the Russian Mob, because you think they are so clever and make you proud to be Russian.  Crime is crime and if you don’t see it that way than you are a traitor.

  10. I don’t think Russians should acknowledge anything about themselves until others do the same. Take Russian fraud. It’s really Jewish fraud, and I am saying this as a Jew and a committed Zionist. Statistically Jews commit about 40% more fraud than others and at least 1,000% more of the massive fraud. Think of Bernie Madoff, Andy Fastow (Enron), Robert Stein (Iraq war contracts). None of the big-time $100 million+ Jewish fraudsters were ever Russian, they were all born in the United States. But do American-born Jews acknowledge it? Do they take community-wide responsibility? Of course not and they really should not. If you throw this in their face, they will scream anti-Semitism, and they will be right. So why should innocent Russian Jews be smeared? How am I responsible for another person’s crime when the only thing I have in common with the criminal is that we speak the same language?

    The other day I heard two Italian women say that prior waves of immigrants were all hard working and honest, not committing crimes like current immigrants. Really? So Gambino, Bonano and other “families” were what exactly? Non-profits? Charities? How about trash collection and construction company fraud? The fish market? None of that was acknowledged by either of these women, nor by others ranting about Russian crime. Russians today commit less crime and less fraud than any other major communities presently living in New York when they just arrived in the United States (first generation of immigrants always has a higher crime rate than their subsequent generations). In fact, Russians are one of the very few immigrant groups who have lower crime rates than natives, which is absolutely remarkable considering the history of organized crime and gang warfare bynearly every other immigrant group. But Russophobes focus only on the few bad apples. Do they acknowledge the achievements of Russian immigrants, including inventions ranging from TVs (Boris Rosing and Vladimir Zworykin) to the first airliner and helicopter (Igor Sikorsky) to Google (Sergey Brin)? Of course not. Do they acknowledge that Russians Jews are the most well educated major group in New York City, maybe the nation? Of course not. Do they acknowledge that 98% of our new-found wealth is not because of fraud, but because of education, including majoring in very competitive subjects? Of course not.

    So why should we acknowledge any shortcomings in our community? Nobody else acknowledges it amongst themselves and nobody else gives us credit for anything positive.

  11. I do not disagree in your assessment of Russian-American achievements as an immigrant class, or the blackballing by stereotype.


    “Statistically Jews commit about 40% more fraud than others and at least 1,000% more of the massive fraud. ”

    In the parlance of our times: Citation, or GTFO.

  12. Oh man.  Your post is way too long to reply point by point so let me just say this: You want Arabs to acknowledge Islamic terrorists, you wants black leaders to help fight the violence in the black communities, you want Italians to get rid of the Mafia, but yet you don’t want to clean up your own background.

    And please spare me the with lists of Russian Jews accompaniments, and Noble Prizes. I am Jewish  myself, I read those books too, and get the lovely emails from the Jewish organization that tells us how great we are.  NONE OF IT has anything to do with the billions of dollars stolen through medical fraud.  Or perhaps you think that because Albert Einstein discovered relativity this entitles you to steal from the government?

  13. I know all Russians are the same to xenophobic, Russophobic racists, but the reality is different. People getting food stamps are 80 year Oldsmobile who came here to old to work. People driving Bentleys are 30 year Oldsmobile whom you called nerds in the 90s when they went to Brooklyn Tech and Stuyvesant and then majored in engineering at Cornell while you were smoking weed and majoring in some BS in a bootleg college.

    When you saw all those Russian (and Chinese) names on your high school’s top 10 students list, you thought, “what dorks!” and they thought, “some day I will own a Bentley.”

  14. I read the 40% figure in one of the Jewish publications. I think joist or forward, but I could be wrong. But I have this from the Jewish Virtual Library. The figures are long outdated because it is not politically correct and in some countries like France illegal. But if you follow big time crime, you will see that this holds true still, at least for massive fraud.

    “False pretenses, forgery, and fraud are offenses in which Jews in the Diaspora were often overrepresented. In Russia in 1907, conviction rates for “commercial swindlers” were 143%, while in Poland in 1937 rates for fraud were 137%, and for forgery 143% of those for non-Jews, while in Germany the ratio ranged during the years 1882 to 1916 from 183% to 217%. In the Netherlands, the average for 1901–09 was 160%, rising in the period 1931–33 to 249%. In Canada the adjusted conviction rates for fraud, comparing the urban populations only, are 160%. The higher conviction rates for “commercial” offenses are generally ascribed to the much higher proportion of Diaspora Jews than the non-Jewish population in commerce and in urban areas. In Germany, for example, there were proportionately about five times as many Jews as non-Jews, and in Poland about 20 times as many, in commerce. In Poland, between 1924 and 1937, fraud and forgery represented about 21% of all offenses committed by Jews.” judaica/ejud_0002_0005_0_04715.html

  15. Seriously????  Have you looked inside those Bentleys and Mercedes? Do they freaken look like Styversant grads or Phds?  They might not be criminals but they certainly aren’t nerds or Cornell graduates.  Most are business owners with dubious English skills.

  16. My point is that I see no reason to focus on our criminals when others refuse to do the same, making it look like this is somehow unique to Russians. It is not. If we acknowledge that there are bad apples in every community, Russians included, that’s fine. But if we focus on contributions of others and the negatives of Russians, the overall picture comes out very unfair.

  17. This thread is about medicaid fraud.  When there is another shooting in the projects I would be more than happy to blame the black community and black leaders.  However your sentence ” I see no reason to focus on our criminals when others refuse to do the same” is the statement one would expect from a child.  If you are so proud of being Jewish you should know that Jews are expected to promote morality and always by example

  18. You are right about medical fraud. It does have way too many Russians and all the criminals should be arrested and punished. But my problem is that there is a segment of population that loves to repeat that all Russians are fraudsters who get food stamps. This is stated regardless of the subject discussed so long as the word Russian is stated anywhere.

    The statement is as racist as it would be about any other group. I don’t accuse random Italians of trash collection fraud, so why do I have to hear that I am guilty of medical fraud when I have nothing to do with it.

    I work hard for my money. I never got food stamps or any other government aid. I don’t need this BS thrown in my face for no reason. I guess sometimes it gets to me more than it should.

    Yes, Medicaid fraud is a Russian shame. But what community has no similar equivalent? Overall, we do not commit more violent crime or more white-collar crime than others.

    How many Russians do you know? Dozens? Maybe hundreds? And how many of them are involved in Medicaid fraud? I personally do not know even one. All my friends and family work legitimate jobs. For every Russian who commits medical fraud, there are dozens who follow the law. It would be nice not to hear “Russians are all a bunch of scanners.”

  19. Watching TV now and they are talking about a 28 year old who ran multiple marathons and participated in ironman competitions while being officially permanently disabled. As a firefighter (briefly) he is entitled to $50,000 for life tax-free. This kind of fraud is apparently very common.

    Nobody mentioned his ethnicity. Nobody said he wished all of his coethnics die in a hurricane. Nobody blamedanyone but the actual people who are guilty.

    There is no reason not to apply the same to Russians. Lock up the criminals, but do not accuse random people of crimes they are not responsible for.

  20. Very interesting.  So according to your logic, next time there is a Muslim suicide bomber they shouldn’t mention radical Islam or when some gang banger shoots up a  store they shouldn’t tale about the violence of black and Latino gangs. Let’s just all stick our heads in the sand.

  21. By the way, the two pharmacists that you keep mentioning, got acquitted of any wrong doing and their names have been cleared, so unless you want a lawsuit on your hands, I suggest that you stop referring to them in your posts.  

  22. Sorry, but I am curious…. Are you a legal citizen of this country?  If so, why do you refer to yourself as Russian rather then American. (really, nothing personal, just very curious). Actually, not just you, but anyone who is an American citizen, but calls themselves by something else.

  23. I’d like to see evidence of their acquittal, because I just performed a Google search, by date, going back two months and found no evidence of what you suggest.

  24. I have no memories of Russia. I came here over 30 years ago. So why do I care about being Russian? I don’t, except when I hear hateful messages, sometimes even genocidal wishes such as when someone wished all Russians die in the hurricane. I don’t know your ethnic background, but I suspect that if someone chose to attack it for every real and imaginary flaw, after a while you too would get a bit defensive about it. Hate tends to push nationalism forward instead of promoting assimilation.

    When people write that they hope Russians die in hurricane Irene, am I supposed to believe they are not talking about American citizens of Russian descent? When i dont see hateful, biased statements, I don’t feel Russian at all. But you’ll forgive me if my response is rather harsh when I see people accuse the whole community of crime and wish death upon it.

  25. we love you too, Serpico. Seems like you need a place to vent against the Russian-occupied Sheepshead Bay.
    Sorry to disappoint you, but most of us are law-abiding, hardworking and well-educated citizens. Have a nice day !

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