Home Health Care Owner Sentenced to Nine Years in Prison for Medicare Fraud Scheme

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Home Health Care Owner Sentenced to Nine Years in Prison for Medicare Fraud Scheme

This week, the owner of a home health company was sentenced to nine years in prison for orchestrating a nearly $2.8 million scheme involving health care fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, aggravated identity theft, and witness tampering.

According to prosecutors, Yogesh K. Pancholi, who was excluded from billing Medicare, purchased a home health company called Shring Home Care Inc. (Shring), using the names, signatures, and personal identifying information of others to conceal his ownership of the company. Through Shring, Pancholi and his co-conspirators then billed Medicare and were paid nearly $2.8 million for services they did not provide. Following his indictment and in an attempt to keep a government witness from testifying, Pancholi wrote false and malicious emails to federal government agencies under a false name, claiming that the witness had committed various crimes and should not be allowed to remain in the United States.

The January 2024 sentencing follows his September 2023 federal jury trial, at which Pancholi was convicted of conspiracy to commit health care and wire fraud, two substantive counts of health care fraud, two counts of money laundering, two counts of aggravated identity theft, and one count of witness tampering.

The US Department of Justice’s (DOJ) press release is available here.

Owners of South Philadelphia Cheesesteak Restaurant Sentenced to 20 Months in Prison for Tax Fraud Scheme

Last week, the two owners of a popular South Philadelphia cheesesteak restaurant were each sentenced to 20 months in prison for a tax fraud scheme, in addition to a period of supervised release.

According to prosecutors, Nicholas and Anthony Lucidonio Sr. — the operators of cheesesteak restaurant Tony Luke’s — hid more than $8 million from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) between 2006 and 2016. The Lucidonios hid the money “in cash receipts by, among other things, depositing only a portion of the cash they received into Tony Luke’s business bank accounts and providing incomplete information to their accountant, which caused their accountant to file false tax returns that substantially underreported business receipts and income.”

The Lucidonios’ tax fraud scheme also included employment tax fraud, in which they paid employees a portion of their wages off the books in cash, without withholding federal income tax, Social Security, and Medicare taxes, and paid the remainder on the books. The Lucidonios similarly did not report these cash wages to their accountant, causing the accountant to prepare and file false quarterly employment tax returns with the IRS.

All told, the defendants caused a loss of over $1.3 million to the United States.

The DOJ’s press release is available here.

Massachusetts Man Sentenced for COVID-19 Fraud Scheme

Earlier this week, a Massachusetts man was sentenced to six months in prison and ordered to pay over $50,000 in restitution for his part in a COVID-19-related fraud scheme.

Daniel Olivar, the owner of Massachusetts boxing club and fitness center Sonny’s Boxing and Fitness, Inc., pleaded guilty in August 2023 to four counts of wire fraud. According to prosecutors, Olivar engaged in a fraudulent scheme to obtain Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act loans, including an Economic Injury Disaster Loan and Payroll Protection Program loan, for his boxing gym. Olivar allegedly filed false and fraudulent applications for disaster relief loans with the US Small Business Administration, which oversees the administration of the CARES Act and Payroll Protection Program. Prosecutors also state that Olivar filed claims for unemployment benefits with the State of Massachusetts asserting that he was laid off from Gold’s Gym and, as a result, received employment benefits to which he was not entitled.

DOJ’s press release is available here.

Man Pleads Guilty to Money Laundering for Romance Scam

Earlier this week, a Florida man pleaded guilty for his part in a money laundering scheme linked to Nigerian romance scams and business email compromises.

According to prosecutors, Niselio Barros Garcia, Jr. supplied bank accounts to his co-conspirators to obtain proceeds from various fraud schemes, including romance scams and “business email compromises,” which involve hacking or spoofing email accounts to initiate fraudulent money transfers. Prosecutors state that Garcia utilized a cryptocurrency exchange to conceal and transfer the proceeds in Bitcoin to his co-conspirators in Nigeria, and that Garcia personally laundered over $2.3 million. For his part in the scheme, Garcia earned hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees.

Garcia is scheduled to be sentenced in April 2024 and faces a maximum of 20 years in prison.

DOJ’s press release is available here.


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