On Friday, it was announced that the owner of two Brooklyn, New York medical clinics had been sentenced to 84 months in prison. The defendant, 47-year-old Valentina Kovalienko, was sentenced to prison for her involvement in a $55 million healthcare fraud scheme. The defendant was the owner of Bensonhurst Mega Medical Care P.C. and Prime Care on the Bay LLC.

The defendant has also been ordered to forfeit $29,336,497. In October of 2015, the defendant pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. As a part of the guilty plea, Kovalienko admitted that she and her co-conspirators paid kickbacks to patients to encourage them to visit her two clinics.

She also admitted to submitting false and fraudulent claims to Medicaid and Medicare for services that were brought out by prohibited kickback payments. In some cases, the services were unlawfully rendered by unlicensed staff. The defendant also wrote checks from the clinics’ bank account to 3rd party companies for supposedly providing services to the clinics. In actuality, the services were never provided.

Instead, the payments were used to generate money needed to pay the illegal kickbacks. To date, twenty other individuals have pleaded guilty in the case. Again, Valentina Kovalienko has been sentenced to 84 months in prison.