NORFOLK, Va. – A federal grand jury returned an indictment yesterday charging a Williamsburg wellness center owner with defrauding Virginia Medicaid and other health care programs out of over $2 million.
“The defendant allegedly defrauded health care programs and the government by submitting false claims and engaging in multiple overbilling schemes,” said Raj Parekh, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “EDVA remains committed to holding accountable anyone who undermines the integrity of our health care system, including the Virginia Medicaid program, which is designed to subsidize critical health care coverage for those who need it most.”
According to the indictment, Maria Kokolis, 45, of Williamsburg, owned and operated Pamisage, Inc., a center for integrative behavioral health and medicine, with a focus on weight management issues. Beginning in or about 2018, and continuing through February 2020, Kokolis executed a scheme to defraud and overbill various health care benefit programs and the Virginia Medical Assistance Program (Medicaid). She did so by charging 45 minutes to an hour of face-to-face psychotherapy services for noncomparable services like sending messages through the company’s smartphone app or monitoring a client’s data. Kokolis billed these psychotherapy services for times when she was out of the country on vacation and when the clients were out of state or sick in the hospital. The overbilling became so extensive, the indictment alleges, that on 332 separate occasions, Kokolis billed for services that exceeded 24 hours in a single day.
According to the indictment, Kokolis used the names, Medicaid ID numbers, and other identifying information of her clients in submitting these false claims to the health care benefit programs. Kokolis received a total of at least $2,189,342 in fraudulent health care benefit program reimbursements, a portion of which came from the U.S. government.
Kokolis is charged with health care fraud and aggravated identity theft. If convicted, she faces a maximum of ten years in prison for each health care fraud count, and a mandatory sentence of two years in prison for each aggravated identity theft count. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Raj Parekh, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Timothy Thibault, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office Criminal Division; and Mark R. Herring, Attorney General of Virginia, made the announcement.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joseph L. Kosky and Clare P. Wuerker are prosecuting the case.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 2:21-cr-55.
An indictment is merely an accusation. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.