Turkish National Sentenced to 27 Months for Orchestrating “Birth Tourism” Health Care Fraud Scheme on Long Island

1 min read
FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

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.

From at least January 2017 to September 2020, Aksakal and his co-conspirators advertised a birth tourism scheme on two Turkish-language Facebook pages.  The approximate $7,500 fee charged to each pregnant woman would include transportation, “insurance” to cover the costs of pre-natal, delivery, and post-natal medical care.  Aksakal and his co-conspirators also instructed the women to conceal their pregnancies. 

The pregnant women stayed in one of seven “birth houses” that Aksakal maintained in Center Moriches, Dix Hills, East Northport, East Patchogue, Smithtown and West Babylon, New York.  As a result of the scheme, Medicaid disbursed more than $1 million in fraudulently obtained benefits.

The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Long Island Criminal Division.  Assistant United States Attorneys Bradley T. King, Oren Gleich, and Special Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer Sacks are in charge of the prosecution.

The Defendant:

IBRAHIM AKSAKAL (also known as “Dennis”)
Age: 50
East Patchogue, New York

E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 20-CR-400 (JS)