Schneiderman announces sentencing of Binghamton-area transport company and owners for stealing from Medicaid

Defendants also failed to secure Workers’ Compensation Insurance; will forfeit more than $400k to Medicaid and pay $100k in restitution

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced the sentencings of Kenneth Cohn, Sharon Cohn and Yellow Medi-Van and Taxi, Inc., for stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars in Medicaid funds and knowingly operating transportation services without Worker’s Compensation insurance.

At sentencing in Broome County Court, the Cohns forfeited and released $455,604 currently being withheld by the New York State Department of Health, to the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.

Each defendant also agreed to pay $50,000 in restitution, for a total of $100,000. Kenneth Cohn was sentenced to five years’ probation, and Sharon Cohn was sentenced to one-year conditional discharge. Yellow Medi-Van and Taxi, Inc. was sentenced to three years conditional discharge.

“These defendants defrauded Medicaid at the expense of their employees’ safety and New York taxpayers. We’ll continue to hold accountable those that seek to game the system and defraud New Yorkers,” said Schneiderman.

“This husband and wife business team misled regulators and left their employees vulnerable without Workers’ Compensation coverage so they could undercut other businesses and corruptly increase their own profits,” said Inspector General Leahy Scott. “I will relentlessly pursue any individual or business that defrauds taxpayers and the Workers’ Compensation system.”

Broome County residents Kenneth Cohn and Sharon Cohn owned and operated Yellow Medi-Van and Taxi, Inc., a transportation company providing transportation to medical appointments for Medicaid recipients in Broome County. During the period of June 2, 2012, to January 30, 2014, the defendants knowingly operated Yellow Medi-Van and Taxi in violation of Broome County transportation regulations and the New York State Workers’ Compensation Act, by failing to have Workers’ Compensation insurance.

In addition to not having the required insurance, the defendants submitted license applications for the company that falsely claimed they had the required insurance, including attaching copies of insurance certificates and listing insurance companies that do not provide workers’ compensation insurance.

On July 13, 2017, Kenneth Cohn pled guilty to Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, in violation of New York State Penal Law § 155.40, and Effect of Failure to Secure Compensation, in violation of Workers’ Compensation Law. Sharon Cohn pled guilty to Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the Second Degree, in violation of New York State Penal Law § 175.30. Yellow Medi-Van and Taxi entered a plea to Effect of Failure to Secure Compensation, in violation of Workers’ Compensation Law. The defendants pled guilty before the Hon. Joseph F. Cawley, Broome County Court Judge.  

The Attorney General thanks Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott, Senior Investigator Craig A. Cihocki of the New York State Workers’ Compensation Fraud Inspector General’s Office, and the Broome County Government Security Division for their assistance in this investigation.

The investigation by the New York State Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit was conducted by Investigator Keith Hall, under the supervision of Deputy Chief Investigator William Falk, and Senior Auditor/Investigator Dejan Budimir, under the supervision of Regional Chief Auditor Thomas Goodman.

This matter is being prosecuted by Ralph D. Tortora, III, Regional Director of the Syracuse office of the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. Catherine Wagner is Chief of Criminal Investigations-Upstate. The Medicaid Fraud Control Unit is led by Director Amy Held and Assistant Deputy Attorney General Paul J. Mahoney. The Division of Criminal Justice is led by Chief Deputy Attorney General Jason Brown.

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