Sunday, June 16, 2024

Williamsburg Wellness Center Owner Sentenced for $2M Health Care Fraud

Inside of what was Pamisage Center for Integrated Behavioral Medicine is now an empty space. (WYDaily/Lucretia Cunningham)
The inside of what was Pamisage Center for Integrated Behavioral Medicine in February of 2020. (WYDaily/Lucretia Cunningham)

NORFOLK — The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Tuesday a Williamsburg wellness center owner was sentenced to seven years in prison for defrauding Virginia Medicaid and other health care programs out of over $2 million.

According to court documents, Maria Kokolis, 48, of Williamsburg, who owned and operated Pamisage Inc., a center for integrative behavioral health and medicine that focused on weight management issues, executed a scheme to defraud and overbill health care benefit programs and the Virginia Medical Assistance Program (Medicaid) from roughly 2018 to 2020.

In 2020, the wellness center abruptly disappeared from its space at the Williamsburg Indoor Sports Complex, and at the time it was reported there was an FBI presence at the premises.

RELATED: Within days after the FBI visited this local wellness center…the business has vanished

According to DOJ, Kokolis had been charging 45 minutes to an hour of face-to-face psychotherapy services for noncomparable services — including sending messages through the company’s smartphone app or monitoring a client’s data — at times when she was out of the country on vacation or when the clients were out of state or sick in the hospital.

Kokolis also billed months of services for people who met her once and chose not to enrolled in the program, it said, adding on 332 separate occasions, Kokolis billed for services exceeding 24 hours in a single day.

Using the names, Medicaid ID numbers, and other identifying information of her clients to submit the false claims to the health care benefit programs, Kokolis received a total of at least $2,202,627.77 in fraudulent health care benefit program reimbursements, according to DOJ. A portion of those reimbursements came from the U.S. government.

DOJ added in a separate fraud scheme, Kokolis applied in June of 2020 for a Payment Protection Program (PPP) loan falsely certifying her monthly payroll was $25,000 for six employees, and received a PPP loan in the amount of $54,112.50. At the time, she had only one employee and the monthly payroll was not $25,000, DOJ said.

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