Nurse admits to $4.4M health care fraud scheme

PROVIDENCE – A registered nurse and nurse practitioner who fraudulently billed commercial health insurers and Medicare nearly $4.4 million for services in Rhode Island and other states that he never provided pleaded guilty on Wednesday to federal fraud charges and other offenses.

Alexander A. Istomin, 56, admitted that he routinely submitted fraudulent claims for in-person patient services he claimed to have performed at his offices in Rhode Island, New York and Florida, according to U.S. Attorney for Rhode Island Zachary A. Cunha.

Investigators instead found that he or the patients he identified were often in another state or out of the country at the time he billed for the services. They also found that a supposed office that Istomin claimed to have in East Greenwich was a nonexistent medical practice at which no medical services were provided.

Istomin admitted to a federal judge that he waived copayments for some Medicare patients, despite being aware that waiving copayments is prohibited. By waiving copayments, Istomin induced his patients not to report his fraudulent billing to Medicare.

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He also admitted to distributing illegally obtained prescription drugs to people they were not prescribed for.

In addition to pleading guilty to 11 counts, Istomin will forfeit nearly $4.4 million, the amount he received from perpetrating health care fraud, prosecutors said.

Istomin is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 26.