Dennis the Menace

Airport immigration and customs sign

Ibrahim Aksakal (aka Dennis), 50, of East Patchogue, N.Y., coordinated the transportation and birthing care of Turkish women who were fraudulently entering the U.S. using tourist and business visas. The women hid their pregnancies with the end goal of obtaining birthright citizenship and medical benefits for their children. (He spear-headed the little-known Turkish baby boom of Long Island.)

For more than three years, Aksakal and his co-conspirators advertised the birth tourism scheme on two Turkish-language Facebook pages. (Where’s the Facebook police when you need them?) Each pregnant woman paid $7,500 to cover transportation, insurance to pay for pre-natal, deliver, and post-natal medical care. (Compliments of Medicaid, of course.)

Aksakal sheltered the women in “birth houses” throughout Suffolk County between 2017 and 2020—specifically, in Center Moriches, Dix Hills, East Northport, East Patchogue, Smithtown, and West Babylon, NY. (A fraudster with a chain of “mommy motels.”)

For causing the losses of more than $1 million to New York State’s Medicaid program and conspiring to commit healthcare and wire fraud, [Dennis] Aksakal was sentenced to 27 months and ordered to pay restitution of over $1 million plus forfeiture of nearly $400,000. (Let’s hope that this Dennis the Menace is done with causing trouble.)

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from a press release by the U.S. Attorney’s Office – Eastern District Court of New York, “Turkish National Sentenced to 27 Months for Orchestrating “Birth Tourism” Health Care Fraud Scheme on Long Island,” dated March 8, 2022.

Earlier today, in federal court in Central Islip, Ibrahim Aksakal was sentenced by United States District Judge Joanna Seybert to 27 months’ imprisonment for conspiring to commit health care and wire fraud in connection with a so-called “birth tourism” scheme that Aksakal operated in Suffolk County between approximately 2017 and 2020.  The scheme facilitated pregnant Turkish women fraudulently entering the United States using tourist and business visas to give birth so that their children would obtain birthright citizenship and medical benefits.  The Court also ordered Aksakal to pay restitution in the amount of $1,039,723.63, and forfeiture in the amount of $397,500.

Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; Raymond A. Tierney, District Attorney for Suffolk County; Ricky J. Patel, Acting Special Agent-in-Charge, Homeland Security Investigations, New York (HSI); Scott J. Lampert, Special Agent-in-Charge, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, New York Region (HHS-OIG); Frank T. Walsh, Jr., Acting Medicaid Inspector General, New York State Office of the Medicaid Inspector General (OMIG); and Rodney K. Harrison, Commissioner, Suffolk County Police Department (SCPD), announced the sentence.

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Larry Benson, Senior Director of Strategic Alliances, LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Larry Benson is responsible for developing strategic partnerships and solutions for the government vertical. His expertise focuses on how government programs are defrauded by criminal groups, and the approaches necessary to prevent them from succeeding.

Mr. Benson has 30 years of experience in sales and business development. Before joining LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, he spent 12 years founding and managing two software technology startups. During the 1990s he spent 10 years as a Regional Director helping to grow a New England-based technology company from 300 employees to 7,000. He started his career with Martin Marietta Aerospace working on laser guided weapons and day/night vision systems.

A sought-after speaker and accomplished writer, Mr. Benson is the principal author of “Fraud of the Day,” a website dedicated to educating government officials about how criminals are defrauding government programs. He has co-authored WTF? Where’s the Fraud? How to Unmask and Stop Identity Fraud’s Drain on Our Government, and Data Personified, How Fraud is Changing the Meaning of Identity.

Benson holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Albright College, and earned two graduate degrees – a Master of Business Administration from Florida Institute of Technology, and a Master of Science in Engineering from Lehigh University.