Morgenthau announced today the indictment and arrest of 19 individuals for fraudulently collecting Medicaid benefits

Manhattan District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau announced today the indictment and arrest of 19 individuals for fraudulently collecting Medicaid benefits totaling more than $350,000.

The defendants have been indicted on varying charges including welfare fraud, grand larceny, offering a false instrument for filing, and making a punishable false written statement. The crimes charged in the indictments occurred between September 2003 and October 2009.

New York City pays for Medicaid and Health Care Plus insurance benefits for City residents, but only for those with low income and few assets. For example, to qualify, a single adult must make less than $10,830 and possess assets worth less than $13,800. A couple with two children must have income under $33,075 and assets worth less than $26,130. In this case an investigation, “Operation Free Ride,” revealed that the 19 defendants had concealed or misrepresented their places of residence, their income, or their assets to receive benefits to which they were not entitled. The amounts stolen total approximately $353, 64.

The 11 defendants indicted on falsified residency information are:

IBRAHIM AKDEMIR and his brother NEIL AKDEMIR claimed to reside in Manhattan. They used the address of a jewelry store they own called Abraham Jewelry Designers and Manufacturers, located at 37 West 47th Street. They reside in houses in New Jersey. IBRAHIM AKDEMIR received $23,015.46 in public health insurance benefits between 2006 and 2009, while NEIL AKDEMIR received $12,478.30 in public health insurance benefits between 2005 and 2008.

LINDA LAI and her husband, STEPHAN LAI, claimed to reside in Manhattan. They used the address of a relative on Mulberry Street. They reside in a house in Englishtown, New Jersey. The LAI’s and their household received $51,069.09 in public health insurance benefits between 2003 and 2008.

NATALYA AZAROVA claimed to reside with her mother in Rego Park, Queens. She resides in a house in Jericho, New York. AZOROVA and her household received $33,099.71 in public health insurance benefits between 2003 and 2009.

GURBACHAN DHAMI and his wife, BALIJINDER KAUR, claimed to reside in Queens. They reside in a house in Levittown, New York. The couple and their household received $32,380.11 in public health insurance benefits between 2004 and 2009.

KIN WAI KONG and his wife, WAI WEN MAK, claimed to reside in either a Staten Island or Brooklyn house. In fact, they own both houses and received rental income from both residences. They reside in a house in Old Bridge, New Jersey. KONG, his wife MAK, and their household received $31,071.03 in public health insurance benefits between 2004 and 2008.

SONIA MIRIZZI claimed to reside in Staten Island. She used the address of Delilah Salon, which she owns. She resides in a condominium in Manalapan, New Jersey. MIZZRIZI received $10,885.29 in public health insurance benefits between 2006 and 2009.

FARHAD LAHIJANI claimed to reside in Manhattan. He used the address of a woman’s clothing store where he was employed. He lives in a house in Kings Point, New York. LAHIJANI received $6,118.09 in public health insurance benefits between 2008 and 2009.

The 8 defendants indicted on misrepresentations of their resources:

EUFROCINA CALUAG claimed to be unemployed with zero income. She is a practicing dentist in a Bronx dental office. The dental practice provides services to Medicaid patients. Between 2008 and 2009, her office was reimbursed $300,000 for services she provided to Medicaid patients. CALUAG received $6,931.00 in public health insurance benefits between 2007 and 2009.

STEVEN COLUCCI claimed to earn $5,000 a year. He lives in Manhattan and owns two waterfront properties in the Hamptons, from which he receives rental income. COLUCCI received $16,112.68 in public health insurance benefits between 2005 and 2008.

BRIAN BOMEISLER claimed to earn $2,200 per month as a freelance artist. In fact, he is well-known art instructor who travels the country giving art seminars to corporations and individuals, charging up to $1,400 per person. He owns two apartments in Soho and Lower East Side, each worth over $1 million. In 2007, he deposited over $1 million to his bank account. BOMEISLER and his household received $37,553.71 in public health benefits between 2002 and 2008.

JING YAO WANG and his wife, ZHAO MING, claimed to earn between $500 and $1,800 a month. They own a house in Brooklyn, from which they receive rental income. They also run Jing Wang Professional Services, a consulting business for Chinatown restaurants. The couple and their household received approximately $47,000.00 in public health insurance benefits between 2003 and 2008.

DIANA DOWNING claimed that she managed a building in Manhattan in exchange for free rent. She owns the building and an adjacent one at 306 and 308 East 80th Street. She receives rental income from apartments in both buildings. DOWNING and her household received $38,161.84 in public health insurance benefits between 2005 and 2008.

GIULIO MINELLA and his wife ORSOLO MINELLA claimed that they earned $2,631 per month. He claimed to be working for AXA Advisors LLC., but was never employed by that company. Subsequently, he reported that he was an employee of Technomatic Corporation earning $2,000 per month. He is the president of Technomatic, a corporation that sells electrical equipment. He is the owner of three condominium apartments in Manhattan. MINELLA, his wife, and their household received $6,030.00 in public health insurance benefits between 2006 and 2008.

These cases were referred to the District Attorney’s Office by the Bureau of Fraud Investigation for the New York City Human Resources Administration. The defendants, who were arrested today, are scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon in State Supreme Court, Part 1.

Mr. Morgenthau thanked New York City Human Resources Administration Commissioner Robert Doar, Assistant Deputy Commissioner Alida Mattos, and Assistant Director Frank Pira. Mr. Morgenthau also thanked HRA Investigators Morgan Neuwirth, Sarina Clinton, Lorio Lynn Maldonado, Ruth Montauban, and Thomas Toth.

Assistant District Attorneys Claudine Caracciolo, David Nasar, and Remy Taborga are handling the prosecution of these cases, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Marcy Chelmow, Chief of the Public Assistance Fraud Unit. District Attorney Investigator Jonathan Saval and Erika Figueroa assisted with the investigation under the supervision of Deputy Chief Investigator Joseph Pennisi.

Defendant Information:

LINDA LAI, 1/12/1967
47 Heritage Drive
Englishtown, New Jersey
Charges: Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, Welfare Fraud in the Second Degree, Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree (five counts)

STEPHAN LAI, 3/19/1962
47 Heritage Drive
Englishtown, New Jersey
Charges: Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, Welfare Fraud in the Second Degree, Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree (four counts)

IBRAHIM AKDEMIR, 11/4/1967
2 Kimberly Way
River Edge, New Jersey
Charges: Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, Welfare Fraud in the Third Degree, Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree (four counts)

NEIL AKDEMIR, 6/1/1961
348 Continental Avenue
River Edge, New Jersey
Charges: Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, Welfare Fraud in the Third Degree, Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree (three counts)

JING YAO WANG, 6/20/1951
146-14 24 Avenue
Whitestone, New York
Charges: Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, Welfare Fraud in the Third Degree, Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree (eight counts), Making a Punishable False Written Statement (eight counts)

ZHAO MING, 10/3/1955
146-14 24 Avenue
Whitestone, New York
Charges: Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, Welfare Fraud in the Third Degree, Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree (eight counts), Making a Punishable False Written Statement (eight counts)

KIN WAI KONG, 10/13/1968
48 Emily Drive
Old Bridge, New Jersey
Charges: Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, Welfare Fraud in the Third Degree, Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree (nine counts), Making a Punishable False Written Statement (nine counts)

WAI WEN MAK, 8/16/1973
48 Emily Drive
Old Bridge, New Jersey
Charges: Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, Welfare Fraud in the Third Degree, Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree (nine counts), Making a Punishable False Written Statement (nine counts)

STEVEN COLUCCI, 4/25/1952
172 West 109th Street
New York, New York
Charges: Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, Welfare in the Third Degree, Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree (three counts)

SONIA MIRIZZI, 7/17/1950
170 F Amberly Drive
Manalapan, New Jersey
Charges: Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, Welfare Fraud in the Third Degree, Offering a False Instrument in the First Degree (five counts)

GIULIO MINELLA, 5/25/1963
135 East 54th Street
New York, New York
Charges: Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, Welfare Fraud in the Third Degree, Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree (three counts), Making a Punishable False Written Statement (three counts)

ORSOLA MINELLA, 1/20/1976
135 East 54th Street
New York, New York
Charges: Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, Welfare Fraud in the Third Degree, Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, Making a Punishable False Written Statement

DIANA DOWNING, 4/19/1963
306-08 West 80th Street
New York, New York
Charges: Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, Welfare Fraud in the Third Degree, Offering a False Instrument for Filing (four counts), Making a Punishable False Written Statement (four counts)

BRIAN BOMEISER, 8/29/1952
51 Greene Street
New York, New York
Charges: Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, Welfare Fraud in the Third Degree, Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree (six counts)

GURBACHAN DHAMI, 2/5/1957
65 Barrister Road
Levittown, New York
Charges: Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, Welfare Fraud in the Third Degree, Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree (seven counts)

BALIJINDER KAUR, 1/2/1974
65 Barrister Road
Levittown, New York
Charges: Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, Welfare Fraud in the Third Degree, Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree (seven counts)

FARHAD LAHIJANI, 11/23/1953
45 Red Brooks Road
Kings Point, New York
Charges: Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, Welfare Fraud in the Third Degree, Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree (two counts), Making a Punishable False Written Statement (two counts)

NATALYA AZAROVA, 10/17/1983
42 Mellow Lane
Jericho, New York
Charges: Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, Welfare Fraud in the Third Degree, Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree (five counts)

EUFROCINA CALUAG, 1/1/1952
150-62 87th Street
Queens, New York

Charges: Welfare Fraud in the Third Degree, Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, (two counts), Making a Punishable False Written Statement (two counts)

Grand Larceny in the Second Degree is a class C felony, Welfare Fraud in the Second Degree is a class C felony, Grand Larceny in the Third Degree is a class D felony, Welfare Fraud in the Third Degree is a class D felony, Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree is a class E felony, Making a Punishable False Written Statement is a class A misdemeanor.

A class C felony is punishable by 5 to 15 years, a class D felony is punishable by up to 2 1/3 to7 years, and a class E felony is punishable by up to 1 1/3 to 4 years, all in prison.

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