Archive for the tag 'lawsuits'

One Prospect Park West sits at the entrance to Prospect Park (Photo by Mary Bakija)

A Medicaid fraud bust at a Park Slope adult day care center resulted in the arrest today of residents of Sheepshead Bay, Brighton Beach and Sea Gate, one of whom is a member of Sheepshead Bay’s Community Board 15.

The three local defendants worked at Northern Manor Adult Day Health Care Program at One Prospect Park West. They are accused of falsifying medical records to bilk the Medicaid program out of more than $1 million. The center’s operators are also accused of hiring unqualified individuals to provide services.

The bust followed a long-term investigation by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, which has been probing adult day health care centers for potential abuses.

The attorney general’s office set up covert stings, sending healthy, vibrant seniors to the facility as undercover informants for the attorney general. They say their secret cameras recorded Larisa Rumynik, 48, of Brighton Beach, and Valentina Shapran, 51, of Sea Gate, falsifying medical admission forms to ensure the healthy patients would qualify for the programs.

The third local defendant, Liliya Kostyuk, 58, of Sheepshead Bay, is accused of providing social work services and psychological assessments that she was not qualified to perform, the attorney general’s office said.

Kostyuk is also a member of Community Board 15, a government body comprised of 50 unpaid community members appointed at the request of City Council members. The Boards are responsible for advising city and state agencies on planning decisions. According to Chairperson Theresa Scavo, Kostyuk has been on the Board for at least six years and is an appointee of former Councilman Michael Nelson. She did not hold any leadership posts on the Board.

“You’ve got to be kidding,” said Scavo on hearing the news of Kostyuk’s arrest. “Liliya? I’m speechless. she’s always seemed so quiet. I guess you can never judge.”

Each of the three defendants face up to four years in state prison if found guilty. The program’s director, Gelena Deverman, 35, of New Jersey, was charged with grand larceny for causing Medicaid to pay more than $1 million in phony claims. She faces 25 years in prison.

Northern Manor’s parent company, Northern Manor Multicare Center based in Nanuet, New York, in a separate civil settlement, admitted that it operated without a qualified social worker from mid-2010 to 2011. They also confessed to routinely admitting more registrants than it was certified to take.

The parent company agreed to pay a $6.5 million civil settlement in the case and to shut down the Brooklyn center.

“Today’s charges detail yet another example of egregious, despicable abuse of public resources for personal gain, sending the message that criminal behavior will be met with the full force of the law,” said Schneiderman in a press release. “Employees of this program will never again be able to steal from taxpayers and deprive vulnerable New Yorkers of the care they deserve.”

Adult day cares are surging in popularity across New York, seen as a less costly alternative to nursing homes. Such facilities are licensed by the state to provide medical and psychosocial care to seniors who are unable to care for themselves, and are paid approximately 65 percent of the rate paid to a nursing home that provides room and board.

However, the lack of oversight has seen a spike in fraud, with some centers offering gifts, kickbacks and incentives for recruiting potential Medicaid recipients.

Both the state legislature and City Council have sought reforms to limit abuse.

The teaching center's Sheepshead Bay office (Source: Google Maps)

The teaching center’s Sheepshead Bay office (Source: Google Maps)

A former employee of a New York Methodist Hospital teaching facility in Sheepshead Bay has filed a lawsuit against the facility, claiming staff knowingly exposed the public to potential health risks, and terminated her employment when she tried to make it known.

According to the complaint filed earlier this week with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, plaintiff Shagufta Syed alleges that while working as the program director last year at Methodist’s Center for Allied Health Education, School of Radiation Therapy, located at 1401 Kings Highway, she learned that students who had not received a required health clearance — which would entail providing proof of receiving flu and hepatitis shots and being screened for contagious diseases — were “coming into contact with patients who had significantly compromised immune systems as a result of their cancer radiation treatment,” contrary to the Rules and Regulations of the State of New York.

Those students, she claims, worked with patients receiving radiation therapy at Methodist, SUNY Downstate Medial Center, the Brooklyn Hospital Center, LEROS, and the Lutheran Medical Center.

Upon telling one of her supervisors, Syed claims in the lawsuit that she received this response:

“Don’t worry about it. Nothing’s ever done right here.”

The complaint says Syed then reached out to the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology about the situation, and once her Methodist supervisors learned of this, she claims she was fired for doing so.

The complaint further alleges that upon submitting a claim for settlement, Methodist’s lawyers sent a letter claiming they had “documented facts” that could “prove costly” should Syed decide to pursue the litigation, but that those facts were not presented when requested pre-litigation.

Syed is claiming a loss of income from what she says is a wrongful termination, along with emotional distress, and is suing for the sum of $75,000.

“We cannot comment on the lawsuit brought by the individual whose employment was terminated,” Methodist said in a statement responding to the lawsuit. “However, we can assure you that, as required by regulatory agencies and accrediting bodies, our radiation therapy students receive the same health clearances as our employees before they are allowed to enter into clinical rotations.”

– Mary Bakija

Food

Would you risk perjury for this? (Source: WhiteCastle.com)

A sack of White Castle sliders may have just nabbed the world record for most expensive fast food meal ever.

The city agreed to dole out $32,500 of taxpayer money to compensate two men arrested and allegedly beaten for not forking over the meal to Coney Island police officers.

The case first came to light in March when two men, Danny Maisonet and Kenneth Glover filed suit against the NYPD, claiming they were falsely arrested in 2012 by police officers who wanted their meals.

The two say they got out of a cab carrying the sweaty sliders on Halloween 2012 at Neptune Avenue, where cops were rounding up a group of suspected looters. The officers demanded the burgers, the men claimed, and were rebuffed.

The New York Post describes what happened next:

Enraged by the denial, the officers began to beat the men with flashlights and eventually arrested them for obstruction of governmental administration, according to the suit.

Officers​, meanwhile,​ accused them of blocking their way as they tried to round up the looters, court papers state.

The pair were held for two days and were forced to attend several court appearances before the charges against them were tossed.

Pizzarro (Source: DCPI)

Pizzarro (Source: DCPI)

Officer Angelo Pizzarro filed the report, swearing that the men were standing in his way during the struggle with the alleged looters.

In an unrelated case, Pizzarro was described by an assistant district attorney as “not the brightest tool in the shed,” after the cop’s “bizarre and implausible” testimony regarding missing evidence caused that case to be lost. Pizzarro was part of a team of Coney Island housing cops who said they spotted a man with a gun in his waistband.

The Daily News reports:

But when Pizzarro was called to testify at a hearing in November, he claimed his memo book detailing the arrest had been “washed away” with his locker by Sandy.

Later it was learned that Pizzarro had previously handed over the missing memo book to the city Law Department in a separate lawsuit. Questioned why the memo book was not waterlogged and the ink still legible, Pizzarro came up with this explanation: “There are pens that write under water. It won’t leave a blemish, a running mark or anything.”

The judge in that case referred Pizzarro’s testimony to the Internal Affairs Bureau for investigation. It’s unclead if the “separate lawsuit” mentioned above is the White Castle suit or a third, unrelated lawsuit involving the officer.

The White Castle suit was dismissed Wednesday, with the city agreeing to pay Glover $20,000 and Maisonett $12,500.

The face of God (via Facebook)

The face of God (via Facebook)

A Brighton Beach man with the first name “God” is suing credit-reporting agency Equifax because their system reject his first name, and claims he has no financial history.

The New York Post reports:

God Gazarov — a Russian native who was named after his grand­father — claims that the company has stubbornly refused to correct the glitch after more than two years of anguished calls and correspondence, according to a Brooklyn federal lawsuit [filed Friday].

Despite having scores of more than 720 with the two other major credit agencies, TransUnion and Experian, Gazarov said the Equifax snag prevented him from purchasing an Infiniti car last year.

Gazarov, 26, owns a jewelry store in Brighton Beach. He said an Equifax representative told him to change his first name.

He further elaborated on his unusual name to Huffington Post:

“I am who I am,” God said. The Brooklyn man explained that he’s proud to be named after his grandfather, who was a war veteran in Russia.

“It’s my real name. It’s my legal name,” God told HuffPost. Besides a few jokes in high school, he said, he’s never run into any issues with his name before. In fact, he said, most people just tell him it’s a cool name.

Kings Highway and East 16th Street (Source: Google Maps)

Kings Highway and East 16th Street (Source: Google Maps)

A Cardozo School of Law student is suing the city and two police officers from the 61st Precinct, claiming they wrongfully arrested him after he chewed them out for parking in a bus stop to grab some food.

Tzvi Richt, 22, was given two disorderly conduct summonses after he got fed up and mouthed off to two officers who he claims chased off a man for parking in a bus stop – and then took the spot for themselves.

The incident happened in December, when Richt was on his way home from final exams. He spotted two officers in their patrol car at Kings Highway and East 16th Street. The boys in blue were honking at a man using a nearby ATM to move his car from a bus zone. When that man hurriedly pulled away to avoid a ticket, the cops pulled into the bus stop, left their vehicle, and hit a nearby food truck for some chow, the suit alleges.

The New York Post details what happened next:

Richt approached NYPD officers Graham Braithwaite and Jason Pinero and quizzed them about the apparent double standard.

“Plaintiff asked the officers whether they thought what they had done was right,” the suit states. “Kicking a civilian’s car out of a bus stop so that they could park there just to get food.”

Richt claims that he asked the question in a respectful manner and was not “yelling or shouting,” according to court papers.

Braithwaite tried to shoo Richt away – but he wasn’t taking no for an answer.

“Plaintiff responded by asking whether he wasn’t allowed to ask a question of a police officer,” the suit states.

Braithwaite then demanded Richt’s identification – but the student asked if they had the right to make the request.

That’s when Braithwaite put him in cuffs and threw him in the back of the cruiser, the suit claims. Pinero apparently attempted to urge his partner to forget about it and move on, but to no avail.

Richt spent an hour and a half behind bars before getting the disorderly conduct citations.

The Daily News notes that the summonses were tossed in court, and that Braithwaite has been transferred to desk duty while his superiors investigate.

Look at all those gangbangers (Source: NYC Parks)

Design of the new elevated comfort stations. The ramps and stairs are designed to detach in the case of an extreme weather event. (Source: NYC Parks)

The New York City Parks Department will present revised plans this Thursday for the controversial bathroom and comfort station slated for the Brighton Beach boardwalk in response to outcry from Oceana condominium residents and local leaders.

The public hearing on the new draft environmental impact statement will take place at the Shorefront Y (3300 Coney Island Avenue), from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

It’s the second public hearing on the site’s bathrooms, which are identical to 35 others along the Riegelmann Boardwalk and elsewhere in the city – all replacements to facilities damaged in Superstorm Sandy. At the November meeting, residents of Oceana and other nearby buildings lambasted the proposal for the 20-foot-tall structures, with complaints ranging from blocked views and claims that it would attract the homeless, to concerns about the stability of the structure.

The Parks Department previewed seven different alternatives for the placement of the New Brighton location – the formal name of the site in front of Oceana near Coney Island Avenue – at City Hall in February. Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz gave favorable, though tepid, reviews of the new plans.

“Some alternatives are clearly better than others, but what came across is that this is a new administration that has expressed a real willingness to listen to what the community has to say,” Assemblyman Cymbrowitz said in a press release. “It is a very hopeful sign that the [draft environmental impact statement] includes the options that were raised by residents at the Parks Department’s public scoping meeting last November. I believe this is an important step in an ongoing dialogue and it shows that the city is trying to be responsive to the community’s needs.”

A Surf Avenue resident filed a lawsuit against her child’s father on Valentine’s Day, claiming he broke his promise to keep her in a life of comfort after she quit her $100,000-a-year job to be with him.

Daily News reports:

Inna Raykhelgauz, 40, says she quit a $100,000-a-year hospital job after on-and-off lover Mikhail Grinberg promised to cover all living expenses for her and newborn David.

But the Harvard-educated hedge fund researcher, after initially providing $32,000 per month, soon scaled back to about $4,400 after winning a Family Court decision, she charged.

“I love him, but he broke my heart,” said the Russian immigrant.

According to the report, Raykhelgauz forfeited a $14,000-a-month apartment on the Upper West Side when Grinberg cut her off, and she also had to get rid of the nanny.

The court papers indicate Grinberg takes in a $5 million haul annually for Renaissance Technologies hedge fund.

Monica + Felix Wedding Film from Visualaz on Vimeo.

Presented without comment. Because I can’t. I just can’t.

From the New York Post:

A Brooklyn couple were completely screwed over by the company that made their wedding video, with the filmmakers piping in sitcom-style clap tracks, missing key moments in the ceremony and trying to get the groom to “play a transvestite,” the bride claims in a new lawsuit.

Monica Nickchemny, 26, and the owner of Monica’s Bridal in Brooklyn, paid $12,750 to film company Visualez in August 2011 to produce a wedding video and a “love story” that would be played for the wedding guests at the reception, court papers state.

The Daily News had this:

“When I watched my wedding video it really sounded like I was watching an episode of ‘Seinfeld,’” she said.

“It really was ridiculous.”

… The two sides continued to clash through the day of the wedding, when Visualaz allegedly showed up with a fraction of the equipment the $13,000 contract stipulated, court papers charge.

A year later, the edited movie finally arrived and “it was the worst thing in the world,” Nikchemny said. “I was really, absolutely hysterical and I almost had a nervous breakdown.”

She said the film was just a scattered collection of scenes with no beginning, middle or end.

“There were sitcom clapping sound effects in place of the guests at the wedding clapping,” the lawsuit charged.

… The young mother received the video while pregnant and claimed the distress led to some medical complications. But the emotional toll can last much longer, she added.

“How can I show my son this video?” she asked.

Photography and videography blog PetaPixel joined in, getting a quote from Visualez:

For his part [Visualez owner] Boshoer is refusing to comment on the matter. “We would love to tell our story, but not allowed to make any comments at this time,” he says. “The cinematography in their video should speak for itself. As soon as this is over I will update everyone.”

Then there’s the video above, which is one of apparently several videos Visualez produced of their wedding. But PetaPixel reports that it’s only a “preview,” according to the couple – but it does seem to have audio dubbed over the ceremonial breaking of the glass and wedding clapping. And, really, sitcoms should have effects this good… this is more like a De Beers commercial, which would seem kind of ideal for a wedding.

Oh, darn, so much for “presented without comment.”

Well, while I’m editorializing, I might as well note that I’m kind of shocked. I’ve met Monica once, and spoken with her father a few times. They both seemed like very nice, down to earth people. But, you know what they say: marriage changes people.

What do you think?

Yehuda Sadok (Source: LinkedIn)

Yehuda Sadok (Source: LinkedIn)

Yehuda Sadok, the Brighton Beach man accused of posing as an Israeli secret spy to swindle an elderly widow in an international jewelry deal, has filed a counter-suit against the widow’s daughters in an effort to clear his name.

Going by the moniker Oody Geffen, Sadok was accused by the widow’s daughters of romancing their wealthy, jewelry-dealing mother in order to get her to fork over $20 million worth of inventory for a shady deal with a Saudi sheikh.

The daughters’ suit said he claimed to be a friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and dined with Robert DeNiro.

But now Sadok is saying it’s all hooey and the daughters are just bitter that they were written out of the will for being rotten to their mother.

The New York Post reports:

But Sadok denies to Page Six that he ever claimed to be a Mossad agent, and says he met Martin through a mutual friend and ex-FBI agent who asked him to track down an Israeli who’d stolen $1 million in jewels from her. They became friends when he recovered $850,000 of the gems.

“She was a lovely, simple . . . lady who was like my grandmother,” Sadok said. He added that Martin confided she had “two spoiled daughters” she’d lavished with “the best schools, the best clothes,” but they’d “become ‘two devils.’ They were very mean and rude to their mother.”

… Sadok also denied he ever said he was pals with Russian leader Putin (“I wish I was”), or that he claimed to know Robert De Niro, as the suit alleges. He contends that a friend who was a regular on “The Sopranos” was casting a film and trying to get De Niro for a role, and that he’d introduced that TV actor to Martin at her office. “That’s how they got this idea I was a producer,” Sadok said, “and came [up] with this nonsense about De Niro, [who] I never met in my life.”

mossad

Yehuda Sadok (Source: LinkedIn)

It seems a Manhattan widow should have taken a cue from the theme song of the 1960s television show, Secret Agent: “Beware of pretty faces that you find. / A pretty face can hide an evil mind.”

Except his face ain’t all that pretty. But, according to the now deceased widow’s daughter, it hid a mind evil enough to nearly dupe the vulnerable woman and her family out of $20 million, and sparked a change in her will that caused her daughters to lose their inheritance.

Brighton Beach resident Yehuda Sadok, 48, is accused in a lawsuit filed by the widow’s daughters of posing as an Israeli spy who pals around with Vladimir Putin and Robert De Niro. The purpose, they say, was to get the widow, Emilie Martin, to hand over $20 million in jewelry for a deal with a Saudi sheikh.

From the Daily News:

Using the name Oody Geffen, Sadok “convinced my mother that he is a former intelligence officer from Mossad (the Israeli Secret Service), keeps a cyanide capsule in his mouth, has a close personal connection to Russia’s Vladimir Putin and the Israeli Prime Minister, and is a friend of film actor Robert De Niro,” DiFabrizio said in court papers.

… Oody — who also claimed to be a movie producer — convinced Martin in the fall of 2009 to let him sell her jewelry in Dubai, telling her she should hand over $20 million in inventory from her business so he could have a “private sale” for Sheikh Mohammed, his family and friends, according to court papers.

He convinced Martin they’d use the profits to buy “a fancy condominium in Abu Dhabi where they would live happily ever after,” court filings say.

According to DNAinfo, that deal came on the heels of another one, in which Sadok had successfully pursuaded Martin to sell $1.4 million in jewelry to a company serving as an agent of the Sheikh of Dubai. The daughters say Sadok took home a $420,000 commission on the deal, even though the business lost $170,000.

Ultimately, the daughters, who own a portion of the business, successfully stopped the $20 million Saudi jewelry deal in court in 2009. The elder Martin died in 2011, but as a result of the bad blood caused by the deal, the daughters say, they’ve been cut out of the will and her estate has been split up between the mother’s estranged siblings.

The current lawsuit seeks to get the existing will tossed out of court, saying that it was written up under “an insane delusion.”

Sadok said the daughters have got the story all wrong, and that his relationship with Martin was nothing more than a close friendship.

Sadok, a married father of six, told DNAinfo New York on Friday that he was a close friend to Emilie but never claimed to be a spy or have famous friends.

“Robert De Niro, Mossad, who says something like that?” Sadok asked. “I never met Robert De Niro in my life.”

When asked how he met Emilie, Sadok said that a former FBI agent had introduced him to her. Sadok said he was helping the FBI agent retrieve jewels for Emilie.

Sadok also said that he had a platonic friendship with Emilie and that his whole family, including his mother, got to know her.

“I heard all these stories. I’ll be honest with you. Does it make any sense? I think it’s very silly to say something like that,” Sadok said when asked if he tried to romance Emilie.

Next »