By Naeisha Rose
A married mother of four from Jamaica could face 15 years in prison for taking nearly $70,000 in Medicaid funds over the course of three years despite her family’s earning more than $1 million from 2012 to 2016, according to Welfare Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott.
Galit Levi, 37, was arraigned last week and charged with grand larceny, welfare fraud, falsifying business records and offering a false instrument for filing for stealing $67,000 in Medicaid money, according to District Attorney Richard Brown.
Scott said that from January 2012 to December 2015, Scott lied on Medicaid applications and renewal forms to receive welfare benefits for herself and her four children by claiming that she was unemployed and that her husband earned only $1,750 a month, or what would amount to $21,000 annually before taxes.
The false filings, Scott said, led to Levi and her children’s receiving Medicaid benefits, which are meant for individuals or families struggling financially.
“This defendant’s alleged crimes involved a breathtakingly misplaced sense of entitlement by reaping a very comfortable family income while utilizing benefits meant for those in need to cover her expenses, as if she were in dire financial distress,” Scott said.
Investigator Caroll Lopera of the Office of the Welfare Inspector General and Detective David Moore of the Queens District Attorney’s Office Detective Bureau helped to uncover bank records from Levi and her husband that revealed the couple made deposits exceeding $1.13 million from 2012 through 2016.
“Medicaid is intended to help the truly needy, but this defendant’s bank records allegedly show her family’s income was well above the levels that would have made her and her children eligible for assistance,” Brown said.
Queens Criminal Court Judge Karen Gopee set Levi’s bail at $5,000 and ordered the defendant to return to court on Feb. 13 and to surrender her U.S. and Israeli passports.
“I will continue to use all of the resources at my disposal to protect public funds meant for those in the most need of financial assistance,” Scott said.
Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by email at nrose