Bronx clinic owner heading to state prison for stealing more than $4M in housing assistance sham: AG

medicaid
Bronx clinic owner Leslie Montgomery was sentenced to state prison for stealing more than $4 million by allegedly scamming individuals and taxpayers through a fake housing assistance program.
Photo courtesy Getty Images

A Bronx clinic owner has been sentenced to 3-9 years in state prison for defrauding the state and low-income New Yorkers out of more than $4 million through a sham housing assistance program that lured individuals into providing their personal information.

On Thursday, state Attorney General Letitia James announced the sentencing of Bronx native Leslie Montgomery, who owned Healthy Living Community Center (Healthy Living) and LCM Livery P/U, Inc. (LCM Livery). James said that Montgomery used personal information from her victims to submit false claims for custom-molded back braces to MetroPlus Health Plan, a Medicaid-funded managed care organization, for braces that were not needed and never ordered by patients.

Last month in a Bronx courtroom, Montgomery, 51, pleaded guilty to grand larceny and money laundering, which are both class B felonies.

As outlined in court documents, Montgomery used social media to advertise a sham housing assistance program as a ruse to lure low-income New Yorkers to Healthy Living; Healthy Living then required New Yorkers to divulge personal information, including their Medicaid numbers, in order to qualify for the purported program.

Instead of finding housing, Montgomery instead used the information to purchase highly-customized back braces. The AG’s office said that Montgomery provided a $20 “off-the-shelf” back brace that was mailed directly from Amazon to the recipient. But most of the time, Montgomery never even provided a back brace to clients, and still billed MetroPlus between approximately $750-$1,550 per item.

Montgomery is ordered to pay back more than $4 million in restitution to the state.

“Exploiting New Yorkers’ desperate need for affordable housing to steal public funds is despicable,” said James. “Ms. Montgomery’s greedy and illegal scheme violated the public’s trust and hurt our vulnerable communities in the process. My office will continue to root out this kind of greed and corruption. Those who attempt to steal off the backs of New Yorkers will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

In conjunction with the criminal case, the attorney general also filed a civil complaint against Montgomery and her companies. The complaint — which asserts violations of New York’s False Claims Act — seeks to additionally recover millions of dollars in Medicaid money obtained by Montgomery as a result of her fraudulent conduct.

That suit is still pending in court.

Reach Robbie Sequeira at rsequeira@schnepsmedia.com or (718) 260-4599. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes.

More from Around NYC