NEW YORK CITY, NY – City therapists claimed more than $600,000 in fees for services they failed to provide to developmentally delayed infants and toddlers, according to federal prosecutors.
Eight therapists were arrested Thursday for collecting payment from Medicaid and the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for therapy sessions that never happened, announced Richard P. Donoghue, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.
The therapists — Kadarrah Doyle, 41, Cara Steinberg, 40, Marina Golfo, 44, Ego Onaga, 45, Lyubov Beylina, 30, Danielle Scopinich, 35, Patricia Hakim, 54, and 58-year-old Enock Mensah — submitted thousands of faked session notes and invoices with forged signatures between 2012 and 2018, federal prosecutors said.
Several of the defendants filed invoices that purported to take place at the same date and time with two different children at two different locations, or while they were working as full-time teachers with the Department of Education, according to prosecutors.
Beylina, 30, filed 51 fraudulent invoices that she said took place while she was on vacation in the Dominican Republic, prosecutors said.
“As we allege today, these defendants stole hundreds of thousands of government dollars from a program designed to aid some of our city’s most vulnerable residents,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William Sweeney.
“Rather than provide honest services, they chose to line their own pockets at the expense of taxpayers and the developmentally-delayed children and their families for whom these funds were targeted.”
The eight therapists are slated to be arraigned in Brooklyn Federal Court Thursday afternoon and could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted, prosecutors said.