Woman charged with Medicaid fraud

A woman is facing seven years in prison for stealing more than $29,000 in public benefits, according to the district attorney.

Janna Doheny, 43, was charged with welfare fraud, grand larceny, and offering a false instrument for filing after investigators learned that she was claiming poverty while she owned several luxury waterfront apartments in Brighton Beach — each of which cost well over $500,000, as well as a $170,000 in cash in a safe deposit box.

“It is not a matter of if people who steal money from public assistance programs will be caught; it is when,” Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes said in a statement when announcing Doheny’s indictment on Nov. 14. “My office will prosecute these cases to the fullest extent of the law.”

Investigators say that when Doheny enrolled her and her daughter into New York State’s Health Plus Medicaid Benefits program, she claimed that her only source of income was $1,550 a month that she earned working at an adult entertainment establishment in Queens. On the application she claimed her bank accounts and other investments totaled less than $5,000.

According to the indictment, investigators from the Office of the Medicaid Inspector General started to look more closely at Doheny when it was brought to their attention that between 2002 and 2010 she had purchased five apartments in the luxury seaside Oceana Condominium complex in Brighton Beach. The Oceana Condominium Complex’s website advertises prices between $500,000 and $2 million.

Property records for the complex confirmed that Doheny purchased five apartments in the luxury seaside complex over that period. A further investigation of property records showed that Doheny had also purchased properties in Bay Ridge, Long Beach, Long Island, and multiple properties in South Florida.

The investigation also found Doheny had several bank accounts in her own name as well as an account in the name of her business, Oceana Ventures. Records show annual deposits to these accounts were in excess $100,000. She also had checking accounts that she shared with two separate men.

Investigators from the Office of the Medicaid Inspector General also observed Doheny living in Long Beach, NY, not in Brooklyn as she claimed on her application.

Doheny’s attorney denies that the suspect had put such a low figure on her Medicaid application.

Albanian gangster extradited

A reputed leader of an ethnic-Albanian organized crime syndicate was ripped from his European home and brought to Brooklyn, where he is facing drug smuggling charges.

Arif Kurti — who is also known as “The Bear,” as well as several other names — was brought to the U.S. on Nov. 16.

According to the federal indictment, the syndicate that Kurti is allegedly a member of comprises several inter-related ethnic Albanian family clans with hundreds of members, workers, and customers. In operation for more than a decade, the syndicate is allegedly responsible for organizing the importation and distribution of tens of thousands of kilograms of hydroponic marijuana from Canada and Mexico, hundreds of kilograms of cocaine from Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, and Peru, and large quantities of diverted prescription pills, such as oxycodone.

Attempts to reach Kurti’s attorney were unsuccessful as this paper went to press.

If convicted, Kurti, who is charged with operating a continuing criminal enterprise and using firearms in furtherance of the syndicate’s drug trafficking crimes, faces a 25-year mandatory minimum sentence and a maximum of life imprisonment.

Reach Deputy Editor Thomas Tracy at ttracy@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2525.

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