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Records show that Scopinich lives on 102nd Street in Howard Beach.
By Michael V. Cusenza
Eight therapists, including one from Howard Beach and another from Forest Hills, have been charged with stealing more than $600,000 in funds from Medicaid and the City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene through fraudulent billing practices in connection with the State Early Intervention Program, federal prosecutors announced on Thursday.
The State EIP is a program that provides remedial services to developmentally delayed children from birth to age 3.
According to the 19-page complaint, Danielle Scopinich, 35, of Howard Beach, and Patricia Hakim, 54, of Forest Hills, are among the eight therapists that allegedly submitted thousands of fraudulent session notes and accompanying invoices for non-existent EIP therapy sessions between approximately 2012 and 2018. As a direct result of their fraudulent submissions, the defendants received hundreds of thousands of dollars in reimbursements from Medicaid and DOHMH. On many occasions, the defendants were not present at the place where the therapy sessions supposedly occurred, including instances in which they were outside of the state or even outside of the United States.
According to the complaint, between approximately January 2015 and July 2017, Scopinich submitted fraudulent session notes and invoices and received payment for more than 500 non-existent EIP sessions, resulting in improper disbursement of more than $15,000 in Medicaid funds and more than $15,000 in DOHMH funds. For example, federal agents compared the historical location data of Scopinich’s cell phone to the EIP session notes submitted by Scopinich and determined that on more than 350 occasions she wasn’t present in the vicinity of the EIP therapy session location at the purported time of the session.
And, according to the charging documents, federal officers determined that, between approximately March 2015 and October 2017, Hakim submitted fraudulent session notes and invoices and received payment for more than 300 non-existent EIP sessions, resulting in improper disbursement of more than $3,000 in Medicaid funds and more than $18,000 in DOHMH funds.
If convicted, the defendants face a statutory maximum of 10 years’ imprisonment.