Former Pilgrim administrator pleads guilty to stealing from insurance plan

Kimiko G. Judith

An administrator at the Pilgrim Psychiatric Middle in Brentwood pleaded responsible Monday to thieving more than $132,000 from taxpayers by submitting hundreds of phony statements to the wellbeing coverage company for condition workers less than his wife’s identify for products and services that ended up by no means offered, officers stated.

Joseph Gottesman, 43, of Dix Hills, a accredited psychologist and former associate director of operations at Pilgrim, pleaded guilty to a single count of second-diploma grand larceny, according to a information release from the condition inspector general’s office environment. As portion of a plea arrangement, Gottesman paid $132,514 in restitution to UnitedHealthcare and must entire 420 hrs of local community assistance.

Gottesman, who had been suspended with out pay out from his position since November 2020 with the New York Condition Office environment of Mental Overall health, will also get a yr probation and will have to resign. 2nd-diploma grand larceny is punishable by up to 15 several years in prison.

“This individual’s scheme to steal from taxpayers has finally caught up with him and he will no lengthier be used by New York State,” condition Inspector Normal Letizia Tagliafierroin reported in a assertion. “The suspicious selection of claims submitted were flagged by means of the vigilance of the insurance provider and clinical suppliers and then delivered to my workplace.”

Gottesman’s lawyer, Alexander Bateman Jr. of Uniondale, explained in a statement that his customer “quickly admitted what he had completed” when contacted by investigators. Bateman attributed Gottesman’s actions to the stress of his wife battling a very long-term ailment.

“Joe is a superior male, a dedicated spouse and loving father who designed a awful miscalculation which he’s using duty for and dealing with it head on,” explained Bateman, incorporating: “That concern, pressure and uncertainty, together with not knowing if she would get greater, led Joe to do something which was absolutely contrary to who he is and how he has in any other case led his everyday living. He submitted claims to their insurance coverage provider which have been not accurate and as a final result acquired reimbursement which he shouldn’t have acquired. Joe has experienced regret and regret about what he did, from the commence.”

The inspector general’s investigation established Gottesman fabricated 448 statements for his wife among May 2016 and May possibly 2019, the information launch stated, introducing that Gottesman stole the identifies of at minimum six out-of-community clinical suppliers. The reimbursement checks ended up sent right to Gottesman, with most of the money deposited into the couple’s joint examining account, officers reported, and Gottesman solid his wife’s title to funds lots of of the checks.

Gottesman submitted wrong statements for solutions for his spouse when she was definitely out of city, including in Florida and on getaway in Aruba, officers stated. Investigators identified that by inspecting the wife’s Fb site as perfectly as credit score card purchases, officials said.

The Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office environment assisted with the investigation and prosecuted Gottesman.

“This is a fantastic end result for taxpayers that guarantees comprehensive reimbursement of these stolen public resources,” District Legal professional Timothy Sini said in a assertion.

The state Wellness Insurance policies Program is administered by the point out Division of Civil Services and handles energetic and retired state workers, as very well as participating nearby governing administration and university district workforce.

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