WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (WAVY) – A wellness center owner will serve seven years in prison after being found to have defrauded Virginia Medicaid and other health care programs of more than $2.2 million.
Maria Kokolis, 48, of Williamsburg, owned and operated Pamisage, Inc., a center for integrative behavioral health and medicine and focused on weight management issues.
Beginning about 2018 and continuing through February 2020, according to court documents, Kokolis schemed to defraud and overbill health care benefit programs and Medicaid by charging 45 minutes to an hour of face-to-face psychotherapy services for services such as sending messages through the company’s smartphone app or monitoring a client’s data.
She billed the psychotherapy services for when she was out of the country on vacation and when her clients were out of state or sick, according to court documents, and billed for months of services for people who met her once and then never enrolled in the program.
On 332 separate occasions, Kokolis billed for services that extended more than 24 hours in a single day, according to court documents, and used the names, Medicaid identification numbers and other identifying information from clients when submitting the false claims to the health care benefit programs.
Some of the more than $2.2 million in fraudulent health care program reimbursements came from the U.S. governments, court documents stated.
A federal grand jury in Norfolk indicted her in May 2021.
In a different fraud scheme, Kokolis applied for a Payment Protection program loan in June 2020, falsely certifying that her monthly payroll was $25,000 and had six employees, when, according to court documents, she had just one employee and a payroll that was not that amount, resulting in a PPP loan of more than $54,000 that she should not have received.