Salesman Arrested For Stealing $750,000 From Jacobi Hospital

Attorney General Spitzer and New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) Acting President Alan D. Aviles announced the arrest today of a Queens man for stealing over three quarters of a million dollars from a Bronx HHC hospital by billing the hospital for spinal surgery implants that he never supplied.

Brian Lew, 31, of 251-03 60th Avenue in Little Neck, New York, was charged with one count of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree. If convicted Lew faces up to 15 years in prison.

According to the felony complaint filed in Bronx County Criminal Court, Lew worked at Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx as a surgical implant salesperson for Spinal Dimensions, Inc., a distributor for Depuy Spine, Inc., a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, headquartered in Raynham, Massachusetts. Depuy supplies implants primarily to spinal and orthopedic surgeons.

It is alleged that Lew, who was paid a commission of between five and eight percent for the implants he sold, submitted false invoices for orthopedic implants such as screws, cages, and bolts that were never supplied by Depuy. The complaint alleges that Lew cheated the hospital in two ways: In some instances he submitted invoices for items that were never supplied and, in other instances, he submitted invoices for items that were actually supplied by companies other than Depuy. Altogether, it is alleged that Lew caused the hospital to pay Depuy at least $750,000 for implants that Depuy never supplied to the hospital.

Depuy cooperated fully with the investigation.

Attorney General Spitzer said, "This prosecution underscores my office’s commitment to recovering losses from health care fraud for both New York State taxpayers and the taxpayers of New York City and other localities. My office’s recoveries -- in excess of $200 million dollars in this federal fiscal year -- will likewise mean savings for financially strained local governments. We are grateful to HHC for bringing this matter to our attention and working closely with us."

HHC Acting President Aviles said, "HHC has zero tolerance for healthcare fraud and we will not hesitate to bring evidence of such fraud to our internal Inspector General and appropriate outside law enforcement authorities. We greatly appreciate the Attorney General's swift pursuit of this prosecution."

The charges against Lew are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

The case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Deborah Nathan of the New York City Regional Office of the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. Special Investigator James Cummings, Special Auditor Investigator Lisa Close, Supervising Auditor Investigator Thomasina Smith of the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and Deputy Inspector General Lisa Lee, Supervising Investigator David M. Danahy, and Director of Investigations Alan Prince of the Inspector General’s Office under the supervision of HHC Inspector General Norman Dion assisted in the investigation.

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