Brooklyn Clinic “Employs” Homeless in $70M Medicare Fraud Scheme

As if Medicaid fraud didn’t already victimize the nation’s most needy and impoverished individuals as it is, the now-former owner of a Brooklyn-based healthcare clinic figured out how to further abuse these individuals in the pursuit of lining his own pockets. Over the course of nine years, Victor Lipkin and eight others would recruit and pay homeless Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries to undergo unnecessary testing and subsequently bill the two government health care programs, resulting in a loss of over $25 million in fraudulent reimbursements. Even further, the majority of these unwarranted tests were unlicensed personnel with no medical experience.

In order to successfully dupe Medicare and Medicaid into reimbursing the clinic, Lipkin and his cohorts would recruit these participants in places such as soup kitchens or government-assistance offices with promises of cash rewards. They would then provide elicit instructions as to how to fill out medical documentation in such a way that it appeared these tests were, in fact, necessary; these often included sleep and stress tests and were performed by individuals who were not qualified to administer such procedures.

Although Lipkin indeed owned the clinic, as well as two others under which he continued this fraud ring, he appointed a licensed physician to act as the “nominal owner” which allowed him to bill the government for any medical care that took place in the three facilities. Along with many of his “practitioners,” Lipkin was also unlicensed himself, a fact that prevented him under New York State Law to hold his position as owner and operator. In a further attempt to conceal his role in the operation, he would route all of the clinic’s proceeds through shell companies owned by himself and/or his affiliates.

The scheme resulted in $70 million worth of false claims being submitted over the nine years of which it took place; all involved were ordered to pay restitution in an attempt to recover the funds that had been so illicitly received. This particular case is a disheartening example of the lengths to which the greedy will go – preying on those at the most desperate and downtrodden times of their lives with no apparent remorse, solely for the pursuit of financial gain.

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