A Valley Village woman was sentenced to more than three years in prison for running an $11.5 million sleep study scam, according to the U.S. Department of Justice on Thursday.
Anna Vishnewsky, 52, used her Studio City medical clinic, Atlas Diagnostic Services, to conduct “unnecessary” and “sometimes nonexistent” sleep studies primarily for employees of United Parcel Service Inc. and Costco Wholesale Corp, according to the statement.
U.S. District Judge George Wu ordered Vishnewsky to pay $2.7 million in restitution; Vishnewsky pleaded guilty to one count of health care fraud in November 2018.
Vishnewsky allegedly paid patients in cash to participate in the studies, which were not prescribed by a doctor or sent anywhere to be interpreted for diagnosis or treatment. She then sent insurance claims for the studies to health benefit plans, the Department of Justice said in its statement.
Co-conspirators recruited employees of UPS and Costco to participate in the scam. Eddie Hernandez of Torrance, 46, a co-defendant in the case, pleaded guilty in November 2018 to one count of health care fraud. Hernandez was a UPS driver who helped Vishnevsky recruit people for the sleep studies.
“(Vishnevsky’s) criminal activity victimized not only the plans, but also plan participants recruited into the scheme, as many of them have been required to pay back fraudulent insurance claims submitted using their names (on penalty of losing their health insurance),” prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memorandum.
The U.S. Department of Labor – Employee Benefits Security Administration, Department of Labor – Office of Inspector General and the FBI participated in the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kerry Quinn prosecuted the case.