Attorney General Cuomo Breaks Up Major Distribution Center For Phony Home Health Aide Certifications Used To Bilk Medicaid Out Of $1 Million
NEW YORK, NY (February 26, 2009) – Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the arrest of a home health aide training facility and two of its employees in a scheme to distribute falsified home health aide certifications to individuals across New York State. Brooklyn-based Global Health Care Training Center (“Global”), owner/operator Wayne Lynch, and employee Charles Trevor were arrested and arraigned today in Kings County Court. They were charged with Grand Larceny in the First Degree, a class B felony, for their involvement in providing bogus certifications, which are estimated to have cost Medicaid, in total, over $1 million. The arrests are part of Attorney General Cuomo’s “Operation Home Alone” – his Medicaid Fraud Control Unit’s (MFCU) continuing investigation into allegations of fraud and abuse in the lightly regulated, fast-growing home health care industry.
“Providing fake certification to home health aides is illegal, an egregious violation of the trust we put in these professionals to care for the ones we love and, ultimately, places their health and well-being at risk,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “Companies in this industry have both a moral and legal obligation to ensure that the certification process is legitimate, and not just a vehicle for personal profit. My Medicaid Fraud Control Unit’s ‘Operation Home Alone’ will continue to uncover and prosecute individuals and companies who seem to believe they are somehow above the law.”
According to the indictment filed today against Global, Lynch, and Trevor, the company and its employees allegedly provided home health aide certifications falsely stating that individuals were trained by registered nurses, when in most instances there was no training provided, or the training did not follow the Department of Health and the Department of Education’s rules and regulations for home healthcare training. Global charged $300 for each certification, which it provided to students along with letters of recommendation and certificates indicating that the student had completed the required number of hours of practical training supervised by a registered nurse. It is estimated that in total over $1 million was bilked from Medicaid by home health aides operating with these fake certifications
Since its inception, Attorney General Cuomo’s long-term “Operation Home Alone” investigation into fraud and abuse in the home health industry has led to charges against more than 100 defendants, including school owners and administrators, licensed home health care service agencies and their owners, home health and personal care aides, nurses, Medicaid recipients, and intermediaries linking would-be aides and schools and licensed home health care service agencies.. It has also led to agreed-upon or court-ordered restitution of more than $34 million.
Today’s arrests and arraignments were handled by investigators from the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, in conjunction with investigators from the Social Security Administration. These cases are being prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Kiran Heer from the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, under the supervision of Special Deputy Attorney General Heidi Wendel.
The charges against the defendants are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.