2001-04-12 / Other News

Parkshore Owner Pleads Guilty In State’s Largest-Ever Medicaid Fraud

By Charles Rogers
Parkshore Owner Pleads Guilty In State’s Largest-Ever Medicaid Fraud By Charles Rogers

Parkshore Owner Pleads Guilty In State’s Largest-Ever Medicaid Fraud By Charles Rogers

When attorneys for Lawrence Friedman, the owner-operator of Canarsie’s Parkshore Manor Health Care Center on Rockaway Parkway, were informed he was being charged with defrauding the Medicaid program of $62 million two years ago, they said they expected he would be completely vindicated.

Their expectations came up short last week, however, when the 53-year-old millionaire admitted last week in Supreme Court that he was indeed guilty of fraud. As a result, Friedman has agreed to pay $25 million in restitution and will serve anywhere from one to three years in jail, according to authorities.

The Parkshore owner was originally charged with three counts of grand larceny, one count of conspiracy and one count of filing a false instrument.

In a report issued last week, state Assistant Attorney General Jose Maldonado said Friedman recruited health-care clients — mostly seniors — to participate in his day-care facility activities, instead of medical services, and he admitted that he used Medicare money to pay for meals and take seniors to the movies. Most of the clients were Russian immigrants.

Maldonado said the state could have sought more than $62 million if the case had gone to court.

The original indictment charged that Medicaid was defrauded by falsifying Medicaid records, including blood pressure screening results, to falsely state that the patients needed medical services and that they received them, which they did not. The indictment also charged that $50 cash payments were made to people who would refer senior citizens to Parkshore.

State Attorney General Elliot Spitzer said the facility took steps to hide the fraud from Health Department officials by making the seniors "dress down" so as not to appear too healthy.

Authorities said the case may be the largest Medicaid-fraud case in history.

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