A second doctor pleaded guilty last week to participating in a Medicare fraud scheme at two Flushing clinics, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District in Brooklyn said.
Chang Ho Lee, of New Jersey, faced charges along with two others of fraudulently billing Medicare for more than $13 million in services they were not providing and were not medically necessary, according to the indictment filed by U.S. attorney Loretta Lynch.
Lee used the people who benefit from Medicare, a federal program that covers the medical costs of the disabled and elderly, to take advantage of the system, Lynch’s office said.
The defendants operated out of URI Medical Service PC and Sarang Medical PC, at 35-05 Farrington St., where they would offer seniors free non-medical services so they could use their Medicare numbers to bill for treatment that was never provided, the indictment said.
Hoi Yat Kam, a doctor who operated out of the same clinics, was sentenced in January to 12 months and a day in prison for his part in the fraud.
“The scheme operated with the relentless efficiency of an assembly line,” Lynch said in a sentencing memo in Kam’s case.
Dozens of seniors would come through the clinics’ doors every day, lured by the promise of free massages, facials, meals, prizes and social events, Lynch said.
Patients were told they must see a doctor in order to receive the free services and were then escorted to see Lee and other doctors, who would prescribe unneeded physical therapy that was never administered, the U.S. attorney said.
Seniors would then be given recreational massages and be treated to the promised perks of the clinics, while the doctors filed bills to Medicare for treatment that was never provided, Lynch said in the memo.
Between January 2010 and October 2011, Lee submitted approximately $3.2 million in claims to Medicare, the indictment said.
He pleaded guilty in Brooklyn federal court last Friday to health care fraud and agreed to forfeit more than $3.4 million in fraud proceeds, Lynch’s office said.
Lee and his co-defendants also participated in a kick-back scheme in which they paid individuals for referring Medicare beneficiaries to them, the indictment said. The defendants hid these payments by creating fake invoices for fictional expenses, according to the indictment.
Lee is scheduled to be sentenced June 13 and could face up to 10 years in prison.
His arrest was part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, a nationwide operation that has charged more than 1,700 defendants who have collectively bilked $5.5 billion from Medicare, according to the FBI.
Reach reporter Alex Robinson by e-mail at arobinson@
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