Owner Of Rockland County Transportation Company Admits To $500,000 Medicaid Fraud

Attorney General Spitzer today announced that the owner of a Spring Valley transportation company and his dispatcher have admitted to stealing more than $500,000 from the Medicaid program by fraudulently billing taxpayers for hundreds of rides that never took place.

Appearing this afternoon in Rockland County Supreme Court before Judge Richard A. Molea were Markava Transportation Company, Inc., its owner/president, Joseph Weinberg, and the company's manager/dispatcher, Eliav Wolicki. The three defendants each pleaded guilty to the crime of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree in satisfaction of the charges pending against them since last July. The defendants also agreed to make full restitution of $534,948 to the Medicaid program.

Sentencing was set for September 10, 2001.

"In fraudulently increasing the company's Medicaid billings from $360,000 in 1996 to more than $860,000 in 1998, the defendants took taxpayers for a ride," said Spitzer. "Our message is clear: we will not tolerate abuse of Medicaid, a program designed to help citizens in need. My Office will continue to aggressively pursue and prosecute those individuals who steal from the taxpayers of this State."

Between January 1996 and April 1999, Weinberg and Wolicki, acting on behalf of Markava Transportation, improperly billed taxpayers for supposedly transporting recipients to adult day care facilities on days when the facilities were closed because of bad weather or holidays. Weinberg and Wolicki also billed for cancelled trips, and for transporting recipients who either were actually hospitalized on the dates claimed or no longer enrolled in adult day care programs.

Attorney General Spitzer thanked the Rockland County Department of Social Services for its cooperation during the investigation.

Markava Transportation Company, Inc., which also does business as Mountainview Transportation, is located at 49 South Main Street in Spring Valley and at 59-A Robert Pitt Drive in Monsey.

Joseph Weinberg, 37, lives at 61 Wilder Road in Suffern, New York.

Eliav Wolicki, 34, also known as Eli Wolicki, lives at 7 Barnacle Drive in New Hempstead, New York.

The case was prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Gilbert Epstein, of the Pearl River Regional Office of Spitzer's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. All cases are handled under the direct supervision of Deputy Attorney General Jos? Maldonado.