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Business Observer Friday, Aug. 8, 2014 8 years ago

Disbarred lawyer gets 70-month prison sentence

Margarita Grishkoff previously pleaded guilty in Medicare scheme case.

TAMPA — A disbarred attorney was sentenced to 70 months in prison for her role in a $28.3 million Medicare scheme that involved several outpatient rehab facilities in Florida, including one Venice and one in Fort Myers.

U.S. District Judge Susan Bucklew of the Middle District of Florida handed the sentenced down Aug. 7 to Margarita Grishkoff, 60, of Charlotte, N.C., according to a release. Grishkoff, formerly of Southwest Florida, was also sentenced to serve three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $14,424,856 in restitution, jointly and severally with her co-conspirators. Grishkoff pleaded guilty Jan. 24 to conspiracy to commit health care fraud. A co-defendant, former Southwest Florida resident Luis Duluc, pleaded guilty in February to conspiracy to commit health care fraud and making a false statement relating to health care matters.

Grishkoff, according to the U.S. Attorney's office, admitted in her guilty plea that she and co-conspirators submitted $28.3 million in fraudulent reimbursement claims to Medicare through physical therapy clinics throughout Florida from 2005-2009. Medicare paid approximately $14.4 million of those claims.

Disbarred in 1997, Grishkoff was vice president, director and registered agent in Florida for a Delaware holding company under the name Ulysses Acquisitions Inc. Grishkoff and co-conspirators, authorities say, used Ulysses Acquisitions to purchase comprehensive outpatient rehab facilities and outpatient physical therapy providers to gain control of these clinics' Medicare provider numbers. The clinics Ulysses purchased included West Coast Rehab Inc. in Fort Myers and Rehab Dynamics Inc. in Venice, in addition to facilities in Lake Wales and Port St. Lucie.

Grishkoff and her co-conspirators, in Miami and other areas, then obtained identifying information of Medicare beneficiaries by paying kickbacks, investigators say. They also obtained unique identifying information of physicians. Grishkoff and co-conspirators used this information to create and submit false claims to Medicare through the clinics Ulysses Acquisitions purchased, according to prosecutors. The claims sought reimbursement for therapy services that didn't take place.

The FBI and the U.S. Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General brought the case against Grishkoff through the Medicare Fraud Strike Force. The U.S. Attorney's office for the Middle District of Florida oversaw the investigation.

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