New York state prosecutors say they won what might be called the Titanic of criminal Medicaid fraud convictions against an adult day-care operator earlier this month.
The state attorney general's office says Lawrence Friedman, 53, of Brooklyn pleaded guilty April 6 to 15 criminal charges, including two counts of first-degree grand larceny, and agreed to pay $48.4 million in restitution.
Friedman was accused of wrongly billing Medicaid for meals, social activities and transportation provided by his two adult day-care centers in Brooklyn. In one instance, Friedman billed the state for therapy treatments while the seniors were attending the movie "Titanic," a spokesman for the attorney general's office says.
Officials believe the settlement could be the single largest criminal Medicaid conviction. Friedman faces a minimum of one to three years in prison when he is sentenced June 1, and he also faces federal charges.
Prosecutors say they began investigating Friedman after receiving a tip from someone who works in the industry. From July 1996 to December 1999, prosecutors say, Friedman submitted $62 million in false claims that his centers provided physical and occupational therapy and blood pressure screenings, but the trial judge reduced the restitution amount.
A relative of Friedman has applied for a license to run the two centers, prosecutors say. The state health department is reviewing the case.