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Long IslandCrime

Suffolk doctor charged in drug-testing scam, state AG's office says

A Suffolk doctor who owns a laboratory cheated state Medicaid out of nearly $1 million in a four-year drug-testing scam, the state attorney general's office said Tuesday.

Edwardo M. Yambo, 70, of Lake Grove, stole $939,000 between 2012 and 2016 by "routinely" submitting bills for drug testing services that his laboratory did not or could not perform and for services that were not medically necessary, according to Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood. For example, instead of charging for one test on a patient, he often charged the state's healthcare program for low-income residents for 11 nonexistent tests, said agency spokesman Jordan Carmon.

Yambo, who has offices in Deer Park and Bay Shore, also operated his laboratory without a director, which is required under state and federal regulations, authorities said.

The doctor and his company, which is named after him, were each charged with one count of second-degree larceny. In a negotiated surrender, the doctor was arrested Tuesday, arraigned in Suffolk County District Court and released on his own recognizance. He gave up his controlled-substance-prescribing privileges to the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, officials said, and could lose his license to practice medicine.

Yambo's attorney declined to comment.

The alleged false charges were discovered by the attorney general's Medicaid fraud control unit when it examined doctors' billing patterns, Carmon said. He had about six schemes, officials said. In one of them, Zambo billed Medicaid for tests that his laboratory did not have equipment to handle. In another, he charged for testing four drugs: powerful pain medications fentanyl and tramadol, the muscle relaxant carisoprodol, and the sedative zolpidem, popularly known under the brand name Ambien, court papers said.

“Billing New York’s Medicaid program for unnecessary or made-up procedures amounts to stealing from New York taxpayers, while wasting critical resources on which our most vulnerable neighbors depend,” Underwood said.

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