Attorney General James announces conviction of Bronx clinic owner for stealing more than $4 million

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Leslie Montgomery sentenced to 3 to 9 years in state prison,
Ordered to pay millions for a fictitious housing assistance program

NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James today announced the conviction of Leslie Montgomery, 51, of the Bronx, of defrauding New York State of millions of dollars in false Medicaid claims and exploiting Low-income New Yorkers. Montgomery — which owned Healthy Living Community Center (Healthy Living) and LCM Livery P/U, Inc. (LCM Livery) — ripped off New Yorkers through an elaborate scheme, whereby Montgomery advertised a housing assistance program fictitious to entice low-income people to provide their personal information. She then used the personal information to submit bogus claims for custom-molded back braces to MetroPlus Health Plan, a Medicaid-funded managed care organization, for braces that were unnecessary and never ordered by patients. Montgomery was sentenced today by the Bronx County Supreme Court to three to nine years in state prison and ordered to repay more than $4 million in restitution to New York State.

“Exploiting New Yorkers’ desperate need for affordable housing to steal public funds is despicable,” said Attorney General James. “Ms. Montgomery’s greedy and illegal scheme has breached public trust and hurt our vulnerable communities in the process. My office will continue to stamp out this kind of greed and corruption. Those who try to steal New Yorkers’ backs will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Last month, Montgomery pleaded guilty to first-degree grand larceny and first-degree money laundering, both Class B felonies. His company, LCM Livery, pleaded guilty to first-degree money laundering. As noted in court documents, Montgomery used social media to advertise a fictitious housing assistance program as a ruse to lure low-income New Yorkers into a healthy lifestyle. Healthy Living then asked New Yorkers to divulge personal information, including their Medicaid numbers, in order to qualify for the purported program. But instead of helping people find housing, Montgomery used their information to submit bogus claims to MetroPlus for highly customized back braces it never provided to Medicaid recipients. Occasionally, Montgomery would provide a $20 “ready-to-use” back brace that was shipped directly from Amazon to the recipient. However, most of the time, she never provided a back brace and yet charged MetroPlus between about $750 and $1,550 per item.

As part of his guilty plea, Montgomery admitted to submitting false Medicaid claims to MetroPlus for the custom-molded back braces, which were never requested or provided to Medicaid beneficiaries. In total, she pocketed more than $4 million from the scheme. Montgomery also admitted to hiding the proceeds of crime using front companies, including LCM Livery, through which she funneled the stolen money to buy two houses in the Bronx.

Along with the criminal case, the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) also filed a civil complaint against Montgomery and his companies. The Complaint – which alleges violations of the New York False Claims Act, Section 145-b of the New York Social Services Act, Sections 63(12) and 63-c of the Executive Act and Other Causes of Action – Seeks to further recover millions of dollars in Medicaid Money obtained by these defendants as a result of their fraudulent conduct. This lawsuit is still pending in court.

The OAG would like to thank the New York State Department of Health, the Office of the Medicaid Inspector General, and MetroPlus for their assistance and cooperation in this investigation.

The MTCU investigation was led by Detectives Alexander Kats and David Salembier, with the assistance of Supervising Detective James Briscoe, under the supervision of Deputy Chief Executive Kenneth Morgan and Deputy Commander-in-Chief William Falk. The underlying financial audit was performed by Senior Audit Investigator Ying Tuo, with assistance from NYC Deputy Regional Chief Auditor Jonathan Romano and NYC Regional Chief Auditor Thomasina Smith. Paralegals Victoria Sepe and Danielle Vercelli also took part in the investigation.

The criminal case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorneys General Hayley Campbell and Anjna Kapoor, with assistance from Deputy Regional Manager David Arias and NYC Regional Manager Twan Bounds. Thomas O’Hanlon is the Chief of Criminal Investigations for MFCU-Downstate. The civil suit is being filed by MTCU Civil Law Enforcement Division Deputy Chief Konrad Payne, with assistance from Civil Law Enforcement Chief Alee N. Scott. MTCU is headed by Director Amy Held and Assistant Deputy Attorney General Paul J. Mahoney and is part of the Criminal Justice Division. The Criminal Justice Division is headed by Chief Deputy Attorney General José Maldonado and overseen by Senior Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Levy.

Report fraud to the Medicaid provider: MFCU stands up for the public by tackling Medicaid provider fraud and protecting nursing home residents from abuse and neglect. If a person believes they have information about fraud by a Medicaid provider or an incident of abuse or neglect by a resident of a nursing home, they can file a confidential complaint online at the OAG or by calling the MFCU hotline at (800) 771-7755. If the situation is an emergency, please dial 911.

MTCU’s total funding for Federal Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 is $59,918,216. Of that total, 75% — or $44,938,664 — is awarded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The remaining 25% of the approved grant — totaling $14,979,552 for fiscal year 2022 — is funded by New York State. Through its recoveries in law enforcement actions, MFCU routinely returns more to the state than it receives in public funding.

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