hands with handcuffs and law hammer

A Brooklyn, NY, home care executive was sentenced to 54 months in prison earlier this week for a scheme that defrauded the state’s Medicaid program out of more than $100 million.

U.S. District Judge John Cronan handed down the decision Wednesday, following Marianna Levin’s guilty plea for wire fraud last June. Levin was the owner of one home care agency and served in a leadership role at another. The Department of Justice in the Southern  District of New York said Levin and co-conspirators charged Medicaid for home health and personal care services for both agencies that were never actually performed. The fraud dated back to 2015.

“As a result, the scheme diverted much-needed resources meant to support services for vulnerable individuals,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement.  “Today’s sentence sends a message that those who engage in health care fraud schemes will face stiff penalties.”

The two agencies employed approximately 3,000 people and served all five New York City boroughs, in addition to Nassau County. William’s office said the agencies often billed Medicaid for “no-show” cases in which aides claimed to be providing services to clients, but were either at home, running personal errands, on vacation or socializing with family and friends.

The fraud coincided with ballooning home care costs in New York’s Medicaid program. Spending for home health tripled in New York between 2013 and 2019, according to New York state’s budget director. 

Billing for services never rendered is one of the top Medicaid fraud schemes cited by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. CMS estimated Medicaid fraud cost taxpayers nearly $86.5 billion in 2020.