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Post date: May 6 2015

A.G. Schneiderman Announces Guilty Plea Of Westchester Nonprofit Executive For Stealing From State Program Assisting Seniors And Disabled

Darlington Odidika Falsified Bids For Construction Work, Inflated Costs Of Services Provided And Took Kickbacks On Behalf Of Nonprofit Systems And Abilities, Inc.

Schneiderman: Every Dollar Stolen By Perpetrators Like Mr. Odidka Impacts Our State’s Ability To Support Its Neediest Citizens

PEARL RIVER – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced that Darlington Odidika, executive director of Yonkers-based nonprofit Systems and Abilities, Inc., pleaded guilty to his role in a bid-rigging and kickback scheme to defraud the Medicaid system of monies earmarked to allow the elderly and infirm to live in the community, rather than in an institutional setting. As a condition of today’s plea, Odidika, 47, of Poughkeepsie, will be sentenced to three months in jail and five years of probation. Odidika and the corporation are also required to repay the full amount that was stolen from Medicaid as a result of this scheme.

“This defendant and his company stole funds from a program intended to assist the elderly and disabled to live in their own home surrounded by loved ones rather than a facility,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Every dollar stolen by perpetrators like Mr. Odidka impacts our state’s ability to support its neediest citizens. My office will do everything possible to ensure those monies are not sacrificed to their greed.”

Systems and Abilities, Inc. was an enrolled provider in the Nursing Home Transition and Diversion Program (NHTD Program), a New York State Department of Health program that provides senior citizens and those suffering from physical disabilities alternatives to institutional living. Operating in Westchester and surrounding counties, Systems and Abilities arranged for contractors to provide modifications to the existing homes of qualified Medicaid recipients through a required bid process and then billed Medicaid based upon the alleged final costs of the projects. Systems and Abilities also billed Medicaid for moving expenses and basic home furnishings for individuals transitioning from a nursing home or rehabilitation center back into their homes.

In today’s guilty plea, Odidika admitted to falsifying bids for these modifications and submitting them to agents of the Department of Health between August 31, 2009 and November 30, 2011. By falsifying these bids, Odidika was able to control which contractor won the bid and inflate the amount of payment that Systems and Abilities received as its share of the project. Odidika also admitted to submitting Final Cost Reports, and Medicaid claims based upon these reports, which falsely stated the actual costs of the projects. Similarly, he admitted to falsifying Final Cost Reports in the transition program for moving expenses, which were either never provided or significantly inflated over the actual costs, and submitting Medicaid claims based upon these false reports.

Odidika and Systems and Abilities each pleaded  guilty to one count of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree today before the  Honorable Barry E. Warhit in Westchester County Court. Odidika is to receive a  sentence of 90 days in the Westchester County Jail and five years of probation.  The nonprofit Systems and Abilities was sentenced to pay a fine of $5,000.  Sentencing for Odidika is scheduled for July 29. Odidika and the corporation  are also required to pay restitution of $21,690, most of which has already been  reimbursed to the Medicaid program.

The case was investigated by Investigator Timothy Connolly, Principal Special Auditor Investigator Ann Winslow, with the assistance of Supervising Investigator Peter Markiewicz, Deputy Chief Investigator Kenneth Morgan and Assistant Chief Auditor Investigator John Regan.

Special Assistant Attorney General William McClarnon of the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit’s Pearl River Regional Office is prosecuting the case. Anne Jardine is the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit’s Regional Director. Thomas O’Hanlon is the Chief of Criminal Investigations-Downstate. The Medicaid Fraud Control Unit is led by Acting Director Amy Held. The Division of Criminal Justice is led by Executive Deputy Attorney General Kelly Donovan.