TRENTON – A Sayreville pharmacist is one of ten defendants indicted Monday on charges they conspired to defraud Medicaid of more than $2.3 million dollars, Attorney General Anne Milgram and Division of Criminal Justice Director Deborah L. Gramiccioni announced.
The indictment is the result of Operation PharmScam, an investigation conducted by the Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, the Jersey City Police Department, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations and the New Jersey Division of Taxation.
The investigation uncovered a scheme in which pharmacy owners and employees bought completed prescription forms for HIV/AIDS drugs and other expensive medicines from indigent patients so Medicaid, Medicare and private insurers could be billed for drugs that were never actually dispensed.
“Pharmacists are supposed to dispense medicines to preserve health and help those who are sick, but these defendants profited by depriving indigent patients of the drugs they needed,” said Milgram.
According to Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Riza Dagli, the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit obtained a state grand jury indictment charging the following defendants:
• Pricus, Inc. d/b/a Campus Pharmacy, 20 Hoyt Street, Newark
• Orange Drugs, 261 Orange Street, Newark
• Ajari Inc. d/b/a Harrison Pharmacy, 634 Martin Luther King Blvd., Newark
• Nadeem Akhtar, 49, of Upper Saddle River. Pharmacist at Orange Drugs (husband of owner)
• Omar Mohammad, 31, Pharmacist at Orange Drugs (son of owner)
• Calvin Osei, 32, of Sayreville. Pharmacist in charge at Campus Pharmacy
• Nwala Gabriel, 49, of Piscataway. Owner of Harrison Pharmacy
Three pharmacy technicians at Pharmacy of America in East Orange were are also named in the indictment: Jannah Rasheedah Amatul Muid, 25, of East Orange, Shivonne Diacy Forde, 26, of Orange and Alicia Stephens, 29, of Newark.
All 10 defendants are charged with conspiracy, health care claims fraud and Medicaid fraud. Osei is also charged with filing false state income tax returns.
The investigation revealed that Bryan X. Chandler, a.k.a. Dr. X, former owner and director of Samaritan Medical in Newark, recruited patients, especially Medicaid beneficiaries, to come to his clinic so multiple prescriptions could be written in each beneficiary’s name and sold to the pharmacies charged in the investigation. Additional beneficiaries who were not patients of Samaritan also participated in the scheme. Chandler has pleaded guilty in the scheme.
According to authorities, patients who agreed to go without their medicines were paid cash at the pharmacies for their prescriptions, which were used to fraudulently bill Medicaid, Medicare and private insurers. In other instances, the medicines were dispensed, but the patients sold them to Chandler, who returned the medicines to the pharmacies for a share of the Medicaid payments. Prescriptions for HIV/AIDS drugs and other expensive specialty drugs were billed to Medicaid for thousands of dollars, 10 to 30 times the amount paid to the patients.
The indictment alleges that the defendants conspired in schemes by which false claims were submitted for Pharmacy of America, Orange Drugs, Campus Pharmacy and Harrison Pharmacy. The defendants allegedly submitted a total of more than $2.3 million in false claims.
Connect with NJTODAY.NET
Join NJTODAY.NET's free Email List to receive occasional updates delivered right to your email address!