The owner, doctor and attorney involved with a medical clinic in Brooklyn, N.Y., have been charged for their alleged participation in a $1 million auto insurance fraud scheme.
New York State Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood announced a 61-count indictment charging David Safir, attorney Nadezdha Ursulova and Theron Grinage of Brooklyn, N.Y., and Dr. Alexander Haselkorn and Roberta Haselkorn of Franklin Lakes, N.J., for their alleged role in the scheme that cheated no-fault insurance carriers out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Code-named “Operation Dr. Know,” a joint investigation by the Attorney General’s Auto Insurance Fraud Unit and the New York City Department of Investigation revealed that Safir, aided by his co-conspirators, allegedly illegally incorporated and operated Brooklyn-based clinic Jamaica Wellness, P.C., encouraged patients to fabricate and exaggerate their injuries and submitted fraudulent claims to insurance carriers for treatment provided and prescribed by unlicensed individuals.
“As we allege, the defendants illegally operated a medical clinic and took advantage of car accident victims in order to line their own pockets,” said Attorney General Underwood in a press release issued by her office. “We have zero tolerance for those who try to scam New Yorkers and take advantage of our insurance and healthcare systems, and my office will continue to prosecute those who break the law.”
In New York state, a person injured in a motor vehicle accident is automatically covered by the Comprehensive Motor Vehicle Insurance Reparations Act, commonly referred to as the “no-fault” law.
No-fault insurance provides for payments for all medical expenses to those injured in automobile accidents up to a total of $50,000 per person when services are deemed medically necessary and provided by a licensed medical professional. Under New York state law, only a medical clinic owned and controlled by a licensed medical professional can bill for no-fault reimbursement.
According to the Attorney General’s indictment filed in Kings County Supreme Court and statements made by prosecutors at arraignment, between July 2016 and July 2017, Safir, who is not a licensed physician, allegedly unlawfully owned and controlled Jamaica Wellness Medical P.C.
Safir allegedly directed treatment protocol for motor vehicle accident (MVA) victims, encouraged MVA victims to fabricate or exaggerate their injuries and paid runners, including co-defendant Grinage, to solicit MVA victims to the clinic. To entice unsuspecting victims, Grinage allegedly misrepresented to MVA victims that he was an attorney.
Prosecutors further allege that attorney Ursulova aided Safir in illegally incorporating Jamaica Wellness by engaging in a sham transfer of clinic ownership from one incapacitated medical doctor to another. Co-defendant Dr. Alexander Haselkorn was an owner of the clinic in name only and allegedly did not actually treat patients at the clinic.
Instead, patients were allegedly diagnosed and referred for thousands of dollars of treatment, diagnostic testing and medical supplies by Dr. Haselkorn’s wife, Roberta Haselkorn, who is not a licensed medical provider. Ursulova also allegedly concealed Safir’s illegal ownership and Alexander Haselkorn’s incapacity from insurance companies.
Between July 2016 and July 2017, Safir and his co-conspirators allegedly fraudulently obtained more than $1 million through their operation of Jamaica Wellness. To further conceal his illegal ownership of the clinic, Safir allegedly cashed more than $380,000 in checks payable to Jamaica Wellness at a Brooklyn-based check-casher in a one-year period.
“Medical insurance fraud drives up costs for everyone,” New York City Department of Investigations Commissioner Mark G. Peters said in the release. “This investigation exposes how one scheme resulted in a spectrum of fraudulent conduct, including money laundering, grand larceny and the unauthorized practice of medicine, according to the charges.”
The Attorney General’s 61-count indictment, unsealed in Kings County Supreme Court, charges various defendants with money laundering in the second degree, insurance fraud in the third degree, grand larceny in the third degree, grand larceny in the fourth degree, unauthorized practice of a profession, falsifying business records in the first degree, scheme to defraud in the first degree and practicing or appearing as attorney-at-law without being admitted and registered.
If convicted of the top counts charged, Safir faces up to five-to-15 years in prison. The Haselkorns, Ursulova and Grinage each face up to roughly two-to-seven years in prison.
Safir and Grinage were arraigned on November 13, 2018. The Haselkorns and Ursulova were arraigned November 15, 2018, in Kings County Supreme Court. The charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
Source: New York State Office of the Attorney General
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