Valley Stream, NY - February 25, 2017 - Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced the arrest of Kester Atumonyogo, 43, of Valley Stream, N.Y., and his company Monack Medical Supply, Inc. (“Monack”) for allegedly stealing over $1.5 million from Medicaid and Healthfirst, a Medicaid managed care organization. The defendants are accused of using a false Social Security number to enroll Monack as a participating medical supply provider in Medicaid. Thereafter, the company allegedly filed false claims that misrepresented to Medicaid and Healthfirst that Monack dispensed a highly specialized, expensive enteral, nutritional formula to needy pediatric patients.
"It's shameful to steal from Medicaid by exploiting children who rely on the program for their basic health needs,” said Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. “My office will protect the integrity of the Medicaid program -- and continue to crack down on those who try to line their own pockets on the backs of taxpayers and those in need.”
Enteral nutritional formulas are prescribed by physicians for patients who must obtain nutrients via a feeding tube and cannot metabolize dietary nutrients from substantive food. The Medicaid reimbursement rate for specialized enteral, nutritional formula is substantially higher than off-the-shelf or over-the-counter nutritional supplements. The Attorney General’s investigation conducted by the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) revealed that Medicaid and Healthfirst, relying on Monack’s false claims, paid Monack for specialized enteral, nutritional formula, but that Monack only dispensed “Pediasure” or similar over-the-counter nutritional supplements to Medicaid patients, when it dispensed anything at all.
The investigation also uncovered that Atumonyogo allegedly used two different dates of birth and claimed to have been born in two different countries. Using that false identifying information, Atumonyogo is alleged to have obtained multiple driver’s licenses and two different Social Security numbers that he has used interchangeably since the 1990’s. Defendant is charged with using the second Social Security number he obtained in the United States to enroll Monack in the Medicaid program.
It is also alleged that Atumonyogo used a different Social Security number in 2006 to obtain welfare and that in October 2012 and September 2013, Atumonyogo filed false income verifications with the New York City Human Resources Administration, claiming that he only made $200 a week or less. From January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2013, Defendant personally received at least $366,906.00 from Monack.
In papers filed in New York City Criminal Court, Kings County, Defendant Atumonyogo and Monack were charged with Health Care Fraud in the First Degree, a class B felony, and three counts of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony. Defendant Atumonyogo was also charged with Welfare Fraud in the Third Degree, a class D felony, and two counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, a class E felony. If convicted on all charges, Atumonyogo faces up to twenty-five years in state prison.
Defendant was arraigned yesterday in New York City Criminal Court, Kings County before the Honorable Jane Tully and bail was set at $50,000 bond over $25,000 cash. Defendant also surrendered his passport. The case was adjourned to March 10, 2017.
The Attorney General would like to thank the New York State Department of Health, the New York State Office of the Medicaid Inspector General, the United States Social Security Administration, the United States Department of Health and Human Services -Office of the Inspector General, and the New York City Human Resources Administration for their valuable assistance in the investigation. The Attorney General, in particular, would like to acknowledge the cooperation and assistance provided by Healthfirst throughout the investigation.
The investigation was conducted by Special Investigator Dan Yao and Supervising Special Investigator Dominick DiGennaro with the assistance of Deputy Chief Investigator Kenneth Morgan. Special Auditor Investigator Brian Gonell and Principal Special Auditor Investigator Patricia Iemma conducted the financial analysis with the assistance of Regional Chief Auditor Thomasina Smith.
This case is being prosecuted by MFCU Special Assistant Attorneys General Crystal Barrow and George Bronner with the assistance of Confidential Legal Assistant Daniel Herzog and Supervising Paralegal Wendy Dorival under the supervision of Deputy Regional Director Twan V. Bounds and New York City Regional Director Christopher M. Shaw. Thomas O’Hanlon is the MFCU Chief of Criminal Investigations-Downstate. MFCU is led by Director Amy Held and Assistant Deputy Attorney General Paul Mahoney.
The charges filed in this case are merely accusations. The defendant whose case is still pending is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.