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Seaford nurse caught in NUMC drug sting

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By TIMOTHY DENTON

tdenton@liherald.com

A Seaford nurse was arrested late last month in conjunction with a scheme that was meant to defraud Medicare and Medicaid of more than $800 million.

Kevin McMahon, 31, a registered nurse pleaded guilty in federal court to stealing the synthetic opioid fentanyl from the Nassau University Medical Center.

McMahon’s actions were part of a larger plot that was intended ultimately to defraud the hospital of more than $800 million in false claims.

Four New Yorkers joined McMahon in the dock, including two physicians, a pharmacist who had lost his license and a pharmacy owner. They were identified as Dr. Anna Steiner, 63, of Valaitie; Dr. Denny Martin,46, of New York City; and Andrew Barrett, 60, and Phyllis Pincus, 58, both of New City.

Steiner, a licensed anesthesiologist, was charged in what police described as a $17.4 million health care fraud scheme in which he would allegedly receive kickbacks in exchange for medical equipment, diagnostic tests that were unnecessary and prescription drugs. He was charged with health care fraud for his role in submitting false Medicare claims for procedures that were never performed.

Martin’s company submitted more than 3,000 false Medicare claims for home health and podiatry visits, beginning in 2015, according to prosecutors

Barrett, a pharmacist with previous convictions for health care fraud was barred from carrying out Medicare and Medicaid transactions as a condition of his parole. He allegedly conspired with Pincus, the owner of two New York pharmacies, to submit claims for drugs that were never given to patients.

“As alleged, defendants charged in the Eastern District of New York used fraud and deceit to steal Medicaid and Medicare funds meant to protect our elderly and most vulnerable residents,” U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue said in a news release. “As this initiative demonstrates, we will continue t bring to justice those who defraud our nation’s health care programs.”

According to Brian Benczkowski, assistant attorney general of the Justice Department’s criminal division, doctors and other medical professionals who fraudulently bill federal health care programs are “robbing vulnerable patients of necessary medical care” and stealing from taxpayers.

“The medical professionals and others engaging in criminal behavior by peddling opioids for profit continue to fuel our nation’s drug crisis,” he said.