Dr. Bernard Bentley of East Hampton apparently lived pretty high off the hog . . . a swanky East Hampton house, two Teslas, and no fewer than six bank and brokerage house accounts.
But Bentley, 61, who reportedly lives on Whale Rock Lane in Northwest Woods, will have to make do with a lot less after his attorneys acknowledged in court last week that he is guilty of Medicaid fraud.
Prosecutors from the New York State Attorney General’s office said the scheme involved “ringers” who were paid to undergo unnecessary medical tests. Bentley and two accomplices then billed Medicaid for treatment that the so-called patients never required nor received.
Tea Kaganovich, 47, and Ramazi Mitaishvili, 58, both of Brooklyn also pleaded guilty to the scam and agreed to pay back $18 million in overpayments. The pair, who co-owned diagnostic testing centers, acknowledged they paid kickbacks to obtain referrals.
Attorney General Letitia James announced the convictions on May 10. “These individuals preyed on unsuspecting patients and stole government funds to line their own pockets,” she said. “Medicaid fraud is a serious crime and we will take action against anyone who seeks to cheat our system or our patients.”
Kaganovich and Mitaishvili were both convicted on charges of grand larceny in the first degree. Bentley was convicted on charges of grand larceny in the first and third degrees.
As part of their respective guilty pleas, Kaganovich, Mitaishvili, and Bentley admitted that they individually and through their corporations engaged in a systematic scheme to subject Medicaid recipients to a battery of diagnostic tests that were neither medically necessary and were fraudulently referred, according to James’s office.
Kaganovich and Mitaishvili, with the assistance of Bentley, then submitted and caused to be submitted claims for reimbursement to the Medicaid program, including to Medicaid-funded managed care organizations (“MCOs”), based on fraudulent referrals for services that were either not provided or not medically necessary.