N.Y. No-Fault Fraudster Pleads Guilty, Agrees to Pay $40M in Restitution
A man whom federal prosecutors in New York say was the mastermind behind a $40 million automobile insurance fraud scheme pleaded guilty on Friday to bribery, health care fraud and identify theft charges.
Alexander Gulkarov, 37, owned medical clinics in the New York City area that performed unnecessary medical benefits and prescribed unneeded topical creams and durable medical equipment from 2014 to 2021, prosecutors say. He allegedly bribed a New York City police officer, hospital employees and 911 dispatchers to obtain the names of motor vehicle accident victims who would be coerced to receive care by clinics that he controlled.
Damian Williams, US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said the scheme was one of the largest no-fault insurance frauds in New York history.
“This complex scheme resulted in over $40 million in losses, which Gulkarov used to fund his lavish lifestyle, taking luxury vacations and renovating his multimillion-dollar home,” Williams said in a statement. “This office has no tolerance for those who cheat the system to wrongfully enrich themselves, and we will continue to dismantle wide-ranging schemes such as this one.”
After reaching a plea agreement with prosecutors, Gulkarov pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery, one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and one count of identify theft. He agreed to forfeit to the government the $40 million that he earned through the scheme and also pay $40 million in restitution, the US Attorney’s office said.
Only licensed medical providers are allowed to own medical clinics in New York. Gulkarov bribed medical practitioners to lie during examinations under oath about the ownership of the clinics where they worked, prosecutors say.
According to the criminal charges, Gulkarov directed physicians and other medical professionals to prescribe unnecessary treatments, medications and durable medical equipment. MRI facilities and pain management doctors and other specialists paid kickbacks to Gulkarov for patient referrals. Gulkarov arranged for the unnecessary medications that were prescribed, such as topical creams and prescription painkillers, to be provided by pharmacies that he and his co-conspirators controlled, prosecutors say.
As part of the scheme, Gulkarov and others paid about$150,000 to create a call center that was operated by Anthony Rose Jr., also known as “Todd Chambers,” the US Attorney’s Office said. Rose called accident victims and lied to them to induce them to seek care at clinics that Gulkarov controlled. Rose pleaded guilty to fraud charges in July 2021 and was sentenced to two years in prison.
Prosecutors say that Gulkarov arranged for a New York City police officer to send confidential motor vehicle accident reports, including more than 400 photographs, from the police department’s servers.
Gulkarov used the Wisnicki & Associates and Wisnicki Neuhauser law firms to launder the proceeds of the fraud scheme, according to charging documents. After a grand jury served subpoenas in 2021, Gulkarov fabricated retainer agreements, backdating them to 2016 and 2016, in order to represent that the law firm was providing legal services to the clinics that he controlled, prosecutors say.
Attorney Robert Wisnicki, the owner of the firms, pleaded guilty in September to money laundering, obstruction of justice and perjury charges. He agreed to pay a forfeiture of $19 million and restitution of $18.8 million.
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