New York City Pharmacy Owner Arrested For $8.5 Million Fraud As Part Of Largest National Medicare Fraud Takedown In History
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Diego Rodriguez, the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), and Scott J. Lampert, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Department of Health and Human Services, announced today that SAJID JAVED was charged with participating in a health care fraud scheme that used nine pharmacies in Brooklyn and Queens, New York, through which JAVED submitted more than $8.5 million in fraudulent claims to Medicaid and Medicare. JAVED’s arrest is part of an unprecedented nationwide sweep led by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, resulting in criminal and civil charges against 301 individuals, including 61 doctors, nurses, or other licensed medical professionals, for their alleged participation in health care fraud schemes involving approximately $900 million in false billings. Twenty-three state Medicaid Fraud Control Units also participated in today’s arrests. In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) also suspended a number of providers using its suspension authority provided in the Affordable Care Act. This coordinated takedown is the largest in the history of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, both in terms of the number of defendants charged and loss amount.
JAVED was arrested earlier today and is expected to be presented in Manhattan federal court later this afternoon.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “As alleged, Sajid Javed induced others to forego their prescription medications for a kickback, and then fraudulently billed Medicare and Medicaid more than $8 million for the drugs that were never actually dispensed. This alleged scheme not only put patients at risk, it also contributed to the multibillion-dollar pillaging of federally funded public health care subsidies.”
FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Diego Rodriguez said: “These alleged criminals arrested around the country today and here in New York City are stealing money meant to help people seeking medical assistance. It’s not a visible theft in public view, but the victims of the crime suffer greatly when they can’t get the assistance they need. We are asking anyone who sees this sort of crime and fraud taking place to be vigilant, and report it to us at 1-800-CALL-FBI.”
HHS-OIG Special Agent in Charge Scott J. Lampert said: “Prescription drug scams, such as the one alleged in this case, work to undermine our nation’s health care system. Today’s arrests coordinated with our law enforcement partners serve as a stern warning to those who attempt to plunder government health programs meant to care for our most vulnerable citizens.”
As alleged in the Complaint and in other documents filed in Manhattan federal court:
While owning and operating nine different pharmacies located in Brooklyn and Queens, SAJID JAVED conducted a multimillion-dollar scheme to defraud Medicare and Medicaid programs by seeking reimbursement for prescription drugs that were not distributed to customers. Specifically, from January 2013 through December 2014, JAVED obtained more than $8.5 million in reimbursements from Medicare and Medicaid for prescription drugs that his pharmacies never actually dispensed. JAVED defrauded Medicare and Medicaid into providing him with these reimbursements by obtaining prescriptions from other individuals, who were willing to forego delivery of the medications in exchange for a share of the reimbursed proceeds, in the form of kickbacks. JAVED offered to pay, and did actually pay, kickbacks in furtherance of this scheme.
Including today’s enforcement actions, nearly 1,200 individuals have been charged in national takedown operations, which have involved more than $3.4 billion in fraudulent billings. Today’s announcement marks the second time that districts outside Strike Force locations participated in a national takedown, and they accounted for 82 defendants charged in this takedown.
The Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations are part of the Health Care Fraud Prevention & Enforcement Action Team (“HEAT”), a joint initiative announced in May 2009 between the Department of Justice and HHS to focus their efforts to prevent and deter fraud and enforce current anti-fraud laws around the country. The Medicare Fraud Strike Force operates in nine locations and since its inception in March 2007 has charged over 2,900 defendants who collectively have falsely billed the Medicare program for over $8.9 billion.
JAVED, 45, of Fresh Meadows, Queens, is charged with one count of health care fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, and one count of illegal remuneration in connection with a federal health care program, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.
Mr. Bharara praised the investigative work of the FBI and HHS-OIG.
The prosecution of this case is being handled by the Office’s Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Christopher DiMase and Sarah Paul are in charge of the prosecution.
The charges in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.