The FBI and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ Office of Inspector General are investigating Zwanger-Pesiri, the Long Island radiology practice with offices in Merrick and 11 other communities in Nassau and Suffolk counties. It was unclear at press time what prompted the investigation.
Federal agents in FBI and HHS-OIG shirts and windbreakers were seen on News12 on March 11, carrying boxes of records out of Zwanger-Pesiri’s office at 150 E. Sunrise Highway in Lindenhurst. News12 also reported that federal agents searched another location, on Wellwood Avenue in Lindenhurst.
A spokeswoman in the Public Information Office of the FBI’s New York Field Office, who declined to give her name, confirmed that the FBI had searched “a couple” Zwanger-Pesiri offices and that the bureau’s investigation was continuing, but she would not comment further.
Donald White, spokesman for the HHS-OIG, would not say what his office was investigating at Zwanger-Pesiri. He said only that it most often focuses on Medicare or Medicaid fraud.
“I can’t give you any details about why that search warrant was executed,” White said. “… But I can tell you . . . that the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health & Human Services fights waste, abuse and fraud in programs of the department . . . and the two largest programs in HHS by far are Medicare and Medicaid.”
White said that the government’s decision not to provide a public explanation for the search is “standard law enforcement procedure.”
Newsday reported that the FBI and HHS-OIG were working with the office of Loretta Lynch, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, to investigate “allegations that [Zwanger-Pesiri] has engaged in a multimillion-dollar fraud by vastly overbilling the federal Medicare program for its services, which include X-rays, MRIs and CT scans.” Newsday cited anonymous sources. News12 reported that an FBI spokeswoman said that the agents’ search and seizure was “part of a health care fraud investigation.”
Robert Nardoza, a spokesman for Lynch, said he could not “confirm, deny or comment” on last week’s events.
Alexander Bateman, an attorney for Zwanger-Pesiri, would not comment on what prompted the search. He did say, however, that the practice remains “open for business as usual,” and he expressed confidence that “Zwanger-Pesiri’s excellent name and reputation is going to prevail in the end.
“They’re going to continue to offer the same exceptional attention to patient care and service that people have come to expect from them,” Bateman said.
The radiology practice traces its roots to 1953, according to its website. Steven Mendelsohn and Susan Zwanger-Mendelsohn, a husband-and-wife team of doctors, run Zwanger-Pesiri today.