Cops Tell COMET About Recent Deception Burglaries, Other Crimes -CONTINUED FROM PG. 10- Feds Bust 10 In Medicare Scam At Local Clinics -CONTINUED FROM PG. 12- SUPPORTING OUR TROOPS MEANS MORE THAN WAVING FLAGS. Help Returning Soldiers By Donating To Veterans Organizations. Department to recover his hard earned war medals. He urged residents not to keep large sums of money in their homes. The captain also advised residents to keep cash, important documents and valuables in bank safe deposit boxes. According to Manson, deception thieves often pose a fake utility workers and target seniors because they are often alone and trusting. Residents were warned not to let anyone into their homes without first contacting the utility company to see if the worker is legitimate. Capt. John Travaglia, commander of the 108th Precinct, echoed these concerns about deception crimes: “How often, in all of the years of living in a home, does a utility worker knock on a door?” Manson, Travaglia and Daraio asked residents to help warn their elderly neighbors about the crimes. “We have to be messengers and spread the word," Travaglia explained. Burglary patterns Burglaries in general are on the rise in the COMET area. Manson reported a “steady decrease” in grand larcenies and grand larceny auto in the 104th Precinct, but warned about a new wave of crime in Maspeth. According to Manson, a “new burglary trend” of pattern robberies has hit Maspeth in the past month. The pattern began back on Nov. 19, when a thief gained access to a home on 65th Place, making off with jewels, documents and an Irish passport. The pattern continued with an attempted robbery of the home of an off-duty police officer on 69th Place on Nov. 26. In this case, the officer scared the thief and nothing was taken. The officer was able to give a description of the alleged thief as a male white in his twenties. Later that same night, the thief struck another home on 65th Place sometime between 8 and 9 p.m. A home was also burglarized in a similar fashion on 54th Avenue in Maspeth between Nov. 25 and 29 while the victim was on vacation. “This is a true type pattern," Manson explained, as all of the crimes take place in a specific timeframe and location. He is hopeful that an arrest will be made in the near future. The captain urged residents to report anyone suspicious to 911. Deputy Inspector Ronald Leyson, commanding officer of the 110th Precinct, also reported similar home burglaries. On Nov. 28, thieves gained access to a home on Gorsline Street through an unlocked rear window, stealing an ipod and jewelry. A similar burglary took place on Nov. 8 at a home of 53rd Avenue. According to Leyson, the residence was “ransacked” but showed no signs of forced entry. Leyson urged residents to always lock windows and advocated for home security systems and alarms. P.O. Thompson Wen, the 110th Precinct’s crime prevention officer, is available to help residents protect their property with a free home survey. As part of the survey, Thompson will evaluate the residence and make suggestions about which security measures and devices are needed. Residents will also receive a free written report based on Officer Thompson’s recommendations. Those interested in a free home security survey are asked to call 1-718-476-9326. Asian community concerns Some COMET members voiced concerns regarding language barriers and crime reporting in the 110th Precinct. Elmhurst resident Rachel L. expressed the need for more bilingual Asian officers in the precinct. Pictured at last Monday’s COMET meeting are (from left to right) Deputy Inspector Ronald Leyson, commander of the 110th Precinct; Capt. John Travaglia, new commander of the 108th Precinct; and Deputy Inspector Brian Hennessy, former 108th Precinct commander. (photo: Kelly Marie Mancuso) 57 • TIMES, THURSDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2014 Leyson explained that the NYPD Management, Analysis and Planning office is in charge of officer appointments. He did urge residents to write letters petitioning the commissioner as a community. Daraio asked Leyson whether or not they could get Asian officers to volunteer to work in the precinct. “As a civic group, we have to work as a unity and deal with the concerns of everyone, especially our new constituents," Daraio stated. Many new residents of Elmhurst are Asian immigrants who may be unfamiliar with the law and their rights here in America. According to Thompson, out of the nearly 160 officers at the 100th Precinct, 18 are Asian, including two Asian supervisors. Leyson explained that the precinct does conduct community outreach, including bilingual educational flyers, through the Immigrant Outreach Unit at Community Affairs. Daraio and Leyson are currently working together to schedule a town hall forum to deal with these important concerns of the growing Asian immigrant population. “It is important for us civically to let them know their rights," Daraio explained. Farewell & reunion COMET President Rosemarie Daraio and her fellow board members honored outgoing commanding officer of the 108th Precinct, Deputy Inspector Brian Hennessy. Richard Gundlach, Woodside vice president of COMET, presented Hennessy with a plaque and expressed appreciation on behalf of COMET residents. “The best to the best," said Gundlach to Hennessy, “and we all wish you the best in your new command." Hennessy thanked the COMET board and residents for their dedication and appreciation. Hennessy then helped introduce his successor at the 108th Precinct, new commanding officer Travaglia. Travaglia had previously worked at the 104th Precinct as executive officerand looks forward to working with the COMET community again. “This is one of the best Christmas presents," he added, “It’s great to be back." Daraio and COMET members also gave a warm welcome to Deputy Chief Jeffrey Maddrey. Maddrey was assigned to the 110th Precinct shortly after graduating the academy two decades ago and was promoted to Sergeant back in 1998. Maddrey served the COMET community for many years as their local beat officer. Daraio recalled Maddrey’s dedication and service to the people of COMET-land. “He liked to walk, meet people and connect with the community," she stated. Maddrey was promoted from inspector to deputy chief following his leadership of Brooklyn’s 75th Precinct in the wake of the shooting death of Det. Peter J. Figoski back in December 2011. “This is like a homecoming for me,” he said, “This is still my beat.” Maddrey explained that he stresses the importance of forging neighborhood connections to new recruits. “I’ll ask younger officers to take me to at least four people in the community,” Maddrey added. He also thanked Daraio and COMET members for keeping him connected to his former beat. COMET will not meet in January 2015; its next meeting is scheduled to take place on Monday, Feb. 2, at 7 p.m. at Bethzatha Church of God, located at 85-20 57th Ave. in Elmhurst. For more information, visit www.cometcivics.com. and its members will be held accountable for their actions,” said Police Commissioner William J. Bratton. “Kickbacks and medically unnecessary services have no place in the Medicare and Medicaid systems,” said Thomas O’Donnell, special agent-incharge of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) New York office. “The Office of Investigations will continue to vigorously pursue those that defraud these programs for their personal gain.” Federal prosecutors said the scheme occurred at clinics secretly owned by Likpin and Zubkov located on Elmhurst Avenue in Elmhurst, Hillside Avenue in Jamaica and Avenue V in Brooklyn. Beginning in 2005, authorities stated, Lipkin and Zubkov recruited and paid a licensed doctor to act as the nominal owner and physician for the clinics. In their capacity as behind-the-scenes owners of the clinics, it is alleged, they collected proceeds from the operation and laundered them through shell companies that they owned and controlled. Over the past nine years, federal agents said, the two secret owners along with Zavalunov, Chochiev and three “runners”— Oliver, Brissett and Trotman—recruited patients with Medicare and Medicaid insurance to act as phony patients. The runners reportedly found many of them at local soup kitchens and welfare offices. Prosecutors stated the runners coached the “phony patients” into filling out information on medical forms later sent to their insurance companies as fraudulent proof of the necessity of the prescribed tests. After the runners obtained the patients’ health insurance information, authorities noted, they passed it onto Swafaar and Pinez, who then contacted the insurance companies to confirm the patients’ coverage. Once the companies advised the two suspects that the patients were eligible for the tests, prosecutors noted, Swafaar and Pinez allegedly directed the runners to bring the patients to the clinics for the exams. Many of the tests—including sleep and stress tests—were reportedly conducted by unlicensed technicians. In one example cited by prosecutors, Fatakhov allegedly administered the tests without proper supervision from a licensed physician. After the tests were completed, authorities noted, each patients received a cash payment, and the participants in the scheme filed reimbursement claims with Medicaid and Medicare. Bharara thanked the NYPD, the FBI’s New York Health Care Fraud Task Force, the HHS, the city’s Human Resources Administration, the state Office of the Medicaid Inspector General and the state Attorney General Medicaid Fraud Control Unit for their roles in the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Timothy Howard and Daniel Therani of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Complex Fraud and Cybercrime Unit are prosecuting the case; Assistant U.S. Attorney Carolina Fornos is handling the asset forfeiture proceeding.
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