2010-05-21 / Top Stories

Primary Recruiter Arrested In Solstice Wellness Sting

By Nicholas Briano

Officials from the United States Office of Inspector General confiscated Solstice Wellness Center’s business and medical records two weeks ago in a major Medicare fraud operation. Officials from the United States Office of Inspector General confiscated Solstice Wellness Center’s business and medical records two weeks ago in a major Medicare fraud operation. Federal officials have arrested the last suspect in the Solstice Wellness million dollar Medicare fraud scheme, where patients were allegedly recruited and received cash kickbacks for services either not rendered or medically unnecessary.

Alexsey Shteyman, 41, considered the primary recruiter of patients, was recently arrested by US Immigration

and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents on a cruise ship returning from the Bahamas after it docked on the west side of Manhattan. He was turned over to authorities and brought before a judge where he was formally brought up on charges. Those charges include conspiracy to defraud the United States, submitting and causing to be submitted false claims and paying health care kickbacks and one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and 16 counts of health care fraud.

The other three suspects in the case, including Shteyman’s brother and two Rockaway residents, were arrested two weeks ago when the US Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) raided and seized business records from Solstice Wellness, located inside the Sands Point Professional building at 230 Beach 102 Street.

The four suspects are accused of recruiting Medicare beneficiaries and distributing cash kickbacks to them on a per-visit basis after each patient was transported to and from the office by a Medicaid paid ambulette service. Patients were primarily physical therapy patients and would come in three times a week on average, so there was always a high population of patients. According to the indictment, one patient was allegedly offered as much as $300 to come to the office to be treated, but most were offered around $50.

The investigation of Solstice Wellness, which opened in Rockaway last July, was conducted by a federal strike force, which was recently formed through a joint operation between HHS-OIG and the Department of Justice (DOJ) aimed at tackling Medicare fraud.

The grand jury indictment was recently unsealed in United States Eastern District Court in Brooklyn with the basic charges of conspiracy to defraud, submitting false claims and paying kickbacks carrying a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, per count. The charges of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and health care fraud each carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, per count.

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