“This criminal doctor sold his license and his ethics for cold, hard cash. Medicare fraud weakens a vitally important program our citizens rely upon. We will continue to be vigilant in bringing those who seek to steal from Medicare to justice.”
U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch
A Staten Island doctor was convicted on Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan on two counts of Insurance Fraud, for his role in a $77,000,000 scam to steal from Medicare.
Federal prosecutors were able to prove that Doctor Gustave S. Drivas provided almost no health care at all to “patients” and rarely visited his own clinic. He instead directed his staff to pay cash to people who qualified for Medicare, and then use their names to bill the insurance provider for millions in procedures and services that were either never provided, or unnecessary.
Evidence at trial showed that Drivas, age 57, who operated Bay Medical Care in Brooklyn had taken in – at the time of his arrest – at least 1/2 million dollars as his share in the theft.
According to court records, Drivas and his co-conspirators would write clinic checks to various fake businesses in New York that were operated by money laundering scamsters.
Two conspirators – Anatoly Kraiter and Larisa Shelabadova – have already admitted their part in the scheme. Irina Shelikhova and her son Maksim Shelikhov, who directed the money laundering operation from inside the clinic, also admiited guilt in the conspiracy.
Drivas is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Nina Gershon in July. He could receive a 20-year term in federal prison.
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Before he decided on a life of crime, Drivas graduated from Ross University School of Medicine in 1987. We suspect he is not one of his med school’s most cherished alumni.
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