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Post date: October 5 2015

A.G. Schneiderman Announces Arrests Of Binghamton-Area Transport Company Owners For Allegedly Bilked Medicaid For Over $1M By Operating Without Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Kenneth and Sharon Cohn Allegedly Operated A Business Without Required Insurance And Illegal Obtained Over $1 million From Medicaid

Schneiderman: Those Who Disregard Workers’ Compensation Laws And Defraud Medicaid Will Be Held Accountable

BINGHAMTON – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced the arrests of Kenneth Cohn and Sharon Cohn, who owned and operated a transportation company  in Broome County, Yellow Medi-Van and Taxi, Inc., for allegedly violating the Workers’ Compensation law and illegally obtaining over $1 million from the Medicaid system.

“Our state’s Workers’ Compensation laws exist for a reason – to protect employees in the event of an accident,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “Those who knowingly disregard these regulations and simultaneously defraud Medicaid will be held accountable.”

New York Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scottsaid, “This husband and wife’s alleged million dollar theft from taxpayers was enabled through a trail of fraud and deceit, uncovered by my investigation,  that purposefully misled regulators and left their own employees exposed and vulnerable. I want to thank Attorney General Schneiderman and his office for prosecuting this matter.”

Yellow Medi-Van and Taxi, Inc. received payments from the Medicaid Program for transporting Medicaid beneficiaries to medical appointments.  During the period June 2, 2012, to January 30, 2014, the defendants are alleged to have knowingly operated the company in violation of Broome County transportation regulations, including not having worker’s compensation insurance. During the time the company was operated unlawfully, the Cohns obtained over $1 million in Medicaid payments.

The felony complaint alleges that, in addition to not having the required insurance, the defendants submitted license applications for the company that falsely claimed the company had the required insurance, including attaching copies of insurance certificates, listing insurance companies that do not provide workers’ compensation insurance.   

In addition, by knowingly operating a business with more than five employees without Workers’ Compensation Insurance, Workers’ Compensation Fraud Inspector General, the defendants’ violated New York Workers’ Compensation law, which makes it a felony to fail to have such insurance. 

Defendants Kenneth Cohn, 68  and Sharon Cohn, 64, of  Binghamton, NY and Yellow Medi-Van and Taxi, Inc , are charged with  Grand Larceny in the First Degree, in violation of Penal Law § 155.42, a Class B Felony (1 count); Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, in violation of Penal Law § 175.35(1), a Class E Felony (2 counts); and Effect of Failure to Secure Compensation, in violation of Workers’ Compensation Law § 52(1)(a), a Class E Felony (1 count).

The defendants were arraigned by Hon. William Pellela, City Court, Binghamton. 

The Attorney General thanks the Office of the Inspector General of New York State, the New York State Workers’ Compensation Department, Investigator Craig A. Cihocki, and the Broome County Government Security Division for their assistance in this investigation.

The Charges against defendants are accusations, who are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

The investigation by the New York State Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit was conducted by Special Investigator Keith Hall, under the supervision of Regional Chief Investigator William Faulk, Senior Auditor/Investigator Dejan Budimir, led by Regional Chief Auditor Thomas Goodman, and the matter is being presented in court by Ralph D. Tortora, III, Syracuse Regional Director. Catherine Wagner is Chief of Criminal Investigations-Upstate. The Medicaid Fraud Control Unit is led by Acting Director Amy Held and Assistant Deputy Attorney General Paul J. Mahoney.  The Division of Criminal Justice is led by Executive Deputy Attorney General Kelly Donovan.