YONKERS, N.Y. -- The executive director of a Yonkers-based nonprofit that specialized in securing state-funded service contracts to help elderly and disabled people was charged with rigging contractors’ bids, demanding kickbacks from subcontractors and defrauding Medicaid of more than $50,000, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced.
Darlington Odidika, 47, of Poughkeepsie is the executive director of Systems and Abilities Inc., which provides construction and moving services to the elderly and disabled to allow them to move from nursing homes back into the community.
Systems and Abilities Inc. was an enrolled provider in the Nursing Home Transition and Diversion Program, a state Department of Health program that provides senior citizens and those suffering from physical disabilities alternatives to institutional living.
Through the NHTD program, Medicaid pays for renovations to the homes of the elderly and disabled, such as wheelchair accessibility ramps, widening of doorways and installation of grab bars, that allow individuals to remain in their homes rather than remain or be transferred to a nursing home or rehabilitation facility.
Medicaid also pays for moving expenses and basic home furnishings for individuals transitioning from a nursing home or rehabilitation center back into their homes.
Systems and Abilities and Odidika, as its executive director, contracted with the Department of Health and its agents to facilitate the provision of, and directly provide, nursing home transition and diversion services to Medicaid recipients in Westchester and surrounding counties.
As part of the program, Systems and Abilities often arranged for contractors to provide modifications to the homes of qualified Medicaid recipients through a required bid process and then billed Medicaid for the cost of the project, plus an administrative fee, based upon the final costs of the projects.
However, as alleged in the complaint filed in Yonkers City Court, between Aug. 31, 2009, and Nov. 30, 2011, Odidika, on behalf of Systems and Abilities, frequently falsified bids for NHTD program projects and submitted them to agents of the Department of Health.
By falsifying these bids, Odidika was able to control which contractor won the bid. He then used the falsified bid to inflate the amount Medicaid paid Systems and Abilities as its share of the project, the complaint alleges.
According to the complaint, Odidika also demanded and received kickbacks from a NHTD program project contractor. Odidika told the contractor that he would have to provide the kickbacks to Odidika if he wanted to win any NHTD program bids, the complaint says.
Odidika then falsified other bids to ensure that this contractor submitted the winning bid, according to the complaint. Finally, Odidika filed claims in the transition program for moving expenses that were either never provided or significantly inflated over the actual costs.
Odidika and Systems and Abilities are each charged with one count of second-degree grand larceny, a class C felony; five counts each of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, a class D felony; and first-degree offering a false instrument for filing, a class E felony; and 10 counts of first-degree falsifying business records, a class E felony.
Odidika was arrested and arraigned before the Judge Michael Martinelli in Yonkers City Court. He was released with bail set at $25,000 cash or bond. If convicted on the top count, Odidika faces up to 15 years in prison.
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