Nurse practitioner sentenced for $12M health care fraud scheme
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — A registered nurse and nurse practitioner, who defrauded health insurers and Medicare of close to $12 million was sentenced to federal prison.
Court documents said Alexander Istomin, 57, pleaded guilty in October 2022 to 11 counts of health care fraud, mail fraud, aggravated identity theft and causing the introduction of misbranded drugs into interstate commerce.
Officials said Istomin admitted he routinely submitted fraudulent claims for in-patient services that he didn’t perform including supposed patient visits to a “ghost office” in Rhode Island and at offices in Florida and New York.
Authorities said the “ghost office” was an address that Istomin maintained in East Greenwich that he claimed was part of his medical practice.
Records show he used the address solely for the purpose of receiving mail including fraudulently obtained insurance payments.
Documents further show many of Istomin’s patients he claimed to meet in-person were actually out of the country at the time of their supposed visits.
Istomin claimed he was seeing patients in other countries often or visiting his home country, Russia.
Authorities said Istomin waived copayments for some Medicare patients despite being aware that waiving copayments is prohibited.
He did so to induce his patients not to report his fraudulent billing, officials said. He also used patient names to fill prescriptions that he would later sell to people other than who was prescribed the drugs.
Istomin was sentenced Tuesday to 84 months in federal prison followed by three years on federal, supervised release. He was also ordered to pay a fine of $30,000 and to pay restitutions to Medicare and private insurers totaling $11,923,686.30.