2006-02-03 / Community

Livery Owner Pleads Guilty to Medicaid Theft

By Howard Schwach

A Nassau County man who owns a Far Rockaway livery car company pled guilty to Medicaid theft last week and admitted he filed bogus claims for cab rides he never provided.

According to New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, whose office is prosecuting the case, Michael LaRocca, 43, the owner of Magnificent 7’s Enterprises, located at 10-85 Beach 21 Street, pled guilty to Grand Larceny in the third degree before Queens Supreme Court Judge Pauline Mullings.

According to the complaint, LaRocca’s company billed for transporting a number of Rockaway residents to and from St. John’s Episcopal Hospital in Far Rockaway, while hospital records showed that there was no evidence of the patients’ presence at the hospital on the corresponding days.

Spitzer pointed to one case where the company billed more that $3,400 worth of transportation services after the patient had moved to the Bronx and was not being transported at all by the company.

Under the terms of his plea agreement, LaRocca will pay $225,000 in restitution and is expected to be sentenced to serve four weekends of jail time concurrent with five years probation, according to court records.

The sentencing before Judge Mullings is scheduled for March 24. Neither LaRocca nor his attorney was available for comment at press time.

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