Witnesses testified on Thursday against a proctologist accused of bilking Medicare and private healthcare programs out of $22.5 million through his Colon and Rectal Care of New York in Brighton Beach.
Federal agents arrested Dr. Boris Sachakov in October 2010, initially charging him with Medicare fraud to the tune of $3.5 million over two years. The investigation turned up additional charges, however, after authorities discovered more improper billing through private insurers.
Daily News caught some of the interactions, as witnesses took the stand:
One patient, a city transit inspector, shifted uncomfortably in his seat as he described the pain and bleeding that sent him to Sachakov’s Brighton Beach clinic.
He received more than a dozen procedures with a “video vacuum machine” and rubber bands, forking over only a $15 co-payment. He was shocked to open a $2,250 bill from Sachakov for hemorrhoid surgery on his last visit when he only was given suppositories.
“I will not pay for a lie,” the patient, whose name is being withheld by the Daily News, said in Brooklyn Federal Court. “Maybe as a person he’s a good man, but as a doctor he lies.”
“You don’t like Dr. Sachakov, do you?” defense lawyer Robert Kopplelman shot back.
Another patient described a quickie procedure that lasted only seven minutes — he later refused to sign a form sent from Sachakov’s office stating he had undergone a surgical procedure. A third patient winced as he recalled the anal fissure for which he was merely prescribed cocoa butter suppositories and warm baths.
Sachakov’s lawyers argued that clients simply didn’t know what procedures were being done on them, according to the Daily News. However, some of the details suggest that Sachakov was up to no good. Investigators at the time of Sachakov’s arrest revealed that Sachakov charged more than $60,000 for 85 hemorrhoidectomies on a single patient in 20 months. He also billed for working more than 24 hours in a day, and he claimed to have performed 6,593 hemorrhoidectomies in a one year period, putting him leaps and bounds beyond the next most active proctology clinic in the nation, which billed for only 381 procedures in the same time period.
United States District Attorney Loretta Lynch included Sachakov’s bizarre case in testimony to the House Subcommittee on Health Care and the Subcommittee on Oversight and Government Reform in April 2011, describing the alleged scheme thusly:
Sachakov accomplished his fraudulent scheme in two ways. First, he billed for surgeries and other procedures that he never performed. Second, he improperly billed for various surgical procedures separately that should have been billed together as part of the same surgical package. For the two-year period charged in the indictment, his total billings amounted to approximately $22.5 million: approximately $6,578,346 in claims to Medicare (approximately $4,465,003 of which were paid); and $16,008,850 in claims to private benefit programs (approximately $5,883,171 of which were paid.)
Sachakov faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted.