NEW ORLEANS—Daria Litvinova, age 25, of Metairie, Louisiana, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud and Ernestine Girod, age 47, of Marrero, Louisiana pleaded guilty to health care fraud. The pleas were entered today before U.S. District Court Judge Lance M. Africk, announced U.S. Attorney Jim Letten.
According to superseding bill of information for Litvinova and the second superseding indictment for Girod, the defendants participated in a criminal organization for the purpose of fraudulently billing Medicare and Medicaid. Patients went to the medical clinics for medical tests that were not performed and not medically necessary. Clinic owners paid runners like Girod to bring Medicare and Medicaid patients to the clinics. Patients were moved between the various clinics to repeatedly perform the same unnecessary tests. According to the superseding bill of information and indictment, the doctors gave the patients prescriptions for drugs, usually narcotics, for their cooperation.
Thereafter, bills for the false and unnecessary services were submitted to Medicaid and Medicare by a third party medical claims processing and billing company that worked with other New Orleans-area clinics that have already entered guilty pleas.
Count one of the superseding bill of information, to which Litvinova pleaded guilty, conspiracy to commit health care fraud, carries a possible maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment. Count one of the second superseding indictment, to which GIrod pleaded guilty, carries a possible maximum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment. Sentencing for Girod has been scheduled for January 10, 2013. Sentencing for Litvinova has been set for December 6, 2012.
Artem Gasparyan, Vadim Mysak, Anna Aivazova, Aram Khlgatian; the medical clinics, Health Plus Consulting Inc., Saturn Medical Group, New Millennium Medical Group, Inc.; and the biller, Solo Lucky Claims Processing Inc., have already pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing. Jo Ann Girod, Ernestine Girod’s, sister, plead guilty on October 17, 2011, and was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $2,452.81.
The investigation was conducted by special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General; and the Louisiana Department of Justice, Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Patrice Harris Sullivan, G. Dall Kammer, and Jordan Ginsberg.