A 39-year-old Sheepshead Bay woman has been charged in a connection to a $3.4 million scam that duped financial institutions into paying for false purchases of medical equipment, Brooklyn DA Ken Thompson announced Wednesday.
The DA’s office charged Sheepshead Bay resident Diana Gets, who co-owns a Park Slope optical store with her estranged husband Maksim Grinberg, with conspiracy for her role in the alleged fraud.
Gets’ attorney Daniel Gottlin, who reached out to us after this story was originally published, said that his client was innocent of all charges and that any of her signatures that appeared in fraudulent documents were forged by her husband.
“Ms. Gets is more of a victim than a defendant in this case,” he said. “She never signed any leases. It was her estranged husband who did this and spent the money on extravagant gifts for his girlfriend. All of my client’s signatures are forgeries.”
The DA said Grinberg, the husband, used the ill-gotten gains to lavish his girlfriend, a former beauty pageant contestant, with gambling escapades in Atlantic city, luxury purchases, a high-end condo rental Battery Park City, and on car lease payments.
Thompson named Grinberg as well as Steven Schuster, the owner of a medical supply store, as the two main defendants.
Schuster is the owner of MKM-Medical Supplies, a dealership that specializes in sales of medical equipment, which included instruments for eye care as well as eye care examinations.
Grinberg also owns 9th Street Vision Center, which is located in the same building as the optical store, DM Optical Inc., at 332 9th Street.
Between September 2010 and July 2015, the defendants allegedly submitted false documents to at least six financial institutions, including including Sterns Bank, Wells Fargo Equipment Finance and Ascentium Capital.
In doing so, the defendants submitted forged signatures of seven optometrists and ophthalmologists that they attempted to use as loan guarantors. Personal information ranged from the doctors’ date of birth, social security numbers, as well as copies of their driver’s licenses. Since the doctors were listed as guarantors, they could have experienced debt and credit problems when the false loans were not repaid.
District Attorney Thompson explained that the scheme involved Schuster keeping 4% percent of each transaction, with Grinberg pocketing the remaining funds.
The money was allegedly spent at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City and on luxury items purchased at Saks 5th Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman. In addition the money was used for a high-end condo rental in Battery Park City as well as lease payments on both Mercedes and Audi automobiles.
District Attorney Thompson said, “This long-running scheme allegedly took advantage of banks and leasing companies as well as of hard-working doctors whose identities were stolen so they could be listed as loan guarantors. We investigated this brazen scam, put an end to it and will now hold those responsible accountable.”
Grinberg was arraigned today at Brooklyn Supreme Court, where bail was set at $1 million. Schuster and Gets are expected to surrender on Thursday.