BROOKLYN/Dentist to be sentenced for bilking Port Authority
Brooklyn federal prosecutors are urging a judge to throw the book at Long Island dentist Barry Cohan at his scheduled sentencing today, arguing that his massive overbilling of a Port Authority medical plan - including charging $5,000 for a filling - has made him a poster boy for health care fraud.
Cohan, 53, of Syosset, pleaded guilty last year to insurance fraud and identity theft for allegedly bilking the Port Authority dental plan out of at least $600,000 by billing more than the actual cost of procedures, making claims for work he didn't do, and later submitting charges under another dentist's name when the plan stopped paying him.
In letters to U.S. District Judge Frederic Block, prosecutors contend that his fraudulent behavior extended over two decades, calling it an "outrageous" scam reflecting an "indefatigable need . . . to seek every penny he could steal."
"While defendant's crimes are not, by themselves, the cause of this country's enormous health-care costs, it is the collective frauds in this area - most of which are far less brazen than those the defendant committed - that have contributed to the health-care crisis," wrote prosecutors Charles Kleinberg and Daniel Brownell.
Cohan, whose dental practice was in Long Beach and Brooklyn, faces a mandatory minimum sentence of two years. The Probation Department has recommended three years, but prosecutors want Block to impose a harsher term calculated under sentencing guidelines - 61 to 70 months.
Defense lawyer Ronald Russo wrote in his memo to Block that Cohan - married with three children - already faces loss of his license and financial ruin, as well as health and psychological problems.
Russo said overbilling of insurance companies is common among medical professionals, and Cohan's fraud was not so much the amount of the charges - which, he said, were not subject to a cap under the Port Authority plan - but false claims to the authority that his patients had paid 20 percent co-pays when they had not. - JOHN RILEY
AMAGANSETT/Body on beach identified as missing kayaker
A body found on an Amagansett beach this week has been identified, authorities said yesterday.
Guan was visiting friends in Milford, Conn., when he went kayaking on May 9 at about 11 a.m. His kayak washed ashore in Southold May 11, authorities said.
Police said a jogger running near Marine Boulevard saw the body in the surf early Tuesday.
When Guan disappeared, seas were 2 feet to 3 feet, with gusts of up to 23 mph. Guan was wearing a lifejacket, officials said. - JOHN VALENTI
LAKE GROVE/Responders to lightning strike find fireworks
A lightning strike in Lake Grove early yesterday morning revealed more than responding firefighters were expecting to find - a cache of illegal fireworks.
An electrical surge from the strike apparently started a fire in the garage at 4 Westcliff Lane at 2:20 a.m., Suffolk police said.
While extinguishing the fire, firefighters discovered about $1,500 worth of fireworks, including fire crackers and sparklers in the garage, police said. Justin Lanigan, 33, a resident at that address, was arrested and charged with unlawfully dealing with fireworks. - Bill Mason