Ex-NHL Player Arrested on Suspicion of Medicaid Fraud

Former National Hockey League player, Sergei Berezin, along with three other Palm Beach County residents were arrested on July 28 on charges of defrauding Medicaid of millions, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Berezin played for five NHL teams between 1996 and 2003. On July 29, the former NHL player, his wife, and two others were in the Palm County Jail.

During eight NHL seasons, Berezin, 43, played for Chicago, Montreal, Toronto, Phoenix, and Washington, scoring 126 goals in 357 games. The highlight of his career was during 1998-99, when he played for Toronto, scoring 37 goals and 59 points.

According to the Palm Beach Post, at least eight South Florida residents, including the four Palm Beach County residents mentioned above, took nearly $3 million from the Florida Medicaid program.

The suspects are being accused of paying two workers from the Department of Children and Families, G. Roman and G. Lopez, who've been arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit bribery in programs receiving federal funds.

Investigators in the Medicaid Fraud Unit of the Office of Attorney General said that applicants would claim that they had no income and lived alone, or that they lived with family members who took care of them.

Informants and a trail of forged documents are what led the authorities to the arrests.

Those who sought the government benefits paid around $4,000 to a couple who were middle men for American Advisory Associates, based in Boca Raton.

The business placed ads in Russian newspapers advertising to be "legal consultants," but many Russians living in South Florida knew that if they paid the right price, they could get food stamps, Social Security benefits, and Medicaid, even if their income was too high to qualify.

Berezin and his wife lived in Boca Raton in a home valued at nearly $700,000, and according to authorities, Berezin earns around $100,000, the Palm Beach Post reported.

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Are you facing fraud-related charges or being accused of another white collar crime? If so, contact my firm, The Law Offices of Phillip T. Ridolfo, Jr. to discuss your case with a former prosecutor with over two decades of experience.


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