By Madina Toure
Three Queens residents were among the four medical professionals and a clinic owner who received prison sentences in a million-dollar Medicare fraud scheme, U.S. Attorney Robert Capers announced.
Jeffrey Suh, 56, of Bayside; Kang Young Chung, 42, of Woodside; and Emily Shim, 40, of Flushing were sentenced Feb. 24 in Brooklyn federal court for plotting to commit health care fraud through a scheme in which they falsely billed Medicare for more than $4 million, according to Capers.
The scheme was carried out at a medical clinic in Flushing owned by Suh and operated under the names Plaza Medi Group, Inc., located at 142-25 37th Ave., and New Plaza Group, Inc., Capers said.
Suh, the scheme’s organizer and leader, was sentenced to 42 months in prison, the prosecutor said.
Chung, a physical therapist assistant, was sentenced to a year and a day and Shim, the clinic manager, was sentenced to eight months’ imprisonment, Capers added.
Brooklyn resident Richelle Munoz, 39, a licensed occupational therapist, and Sophia Lin, 34, of Rocky Point, were also sentenced to 16 and 13 months’ imprisonment, respectively, the U.S. attorney said.
“Clinic owner Jeffrey Suh and his licensed medical professionals manipulated elderly Medicare patients by bribing them with services and induced them to receive medically unnecessary treatments and services,” Capers said. “By doing so, they defrauded a taxpayer-funded program out of millions of dollars. Those who defraud Medicaid and Medicare are on notice that they will be held accountable for their crimes.”
As part of the sentences imposed, the defendants were ordered to pay $2,685,580 in restitution to Medicare, Capers said.
Suh was ordered to forfeit two properties, valued at more than $1 million; Munoz, $565,594; Lin, $70,000; Chung, $985,501; and Shim, $115,136. The defendants were charged as part of a nationwide Medicare fraud takedown in June 2015, Capers continued.
From about December 2010 through June 2013, the defendants submitted more than $4 million in false claims to Medicare for physical therapy, occupational therapy and chiropractic services that were not medically necessary, were often not given or were not eligible for reimbursement, according to Capers.
Instead of assessing and performing therapy and services on Medicare beneficiaries in the amount claimed, the defendants often ushered them to unlicensed massage therapists for massages and other free goods and services, Capers continued.
The defendants would also occasionally submit claims to Medicare for services allegedly performed by a licensed professional, when that professional was not even in the United States, or submitted claims to Medicare for services performed on beneficiaries who were overseas, Capers said.
Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtour