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NYC pharmacists plead guilty to $10M in Medicaid thefts

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Photo from Attorney General's Office

New York State Attorney General's Office

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman yesterday announced the culmination of a wide-ranging investigation into a group of New York City pharmacies that for years systematically bilked the state’s Medicaid program by submitting bills for drugs that were never dispensed to their patients. 

Five owners or supervising pharmacists of four Bronx and one Manhattan pharmacy have pleaded guilty in Bronx Supreme Court to stealing a total of $9.9 million from Medicaid. Lead culprit Sanjay K. Patel stole the vast majority, $7.7 million, of the Medicaid funds and is facing jail time, according to the Attorney General’s Office.

“These five pharmacists were caught red handed and now they are being brought to justice,” Schneiderman said. “My office will track down those who steal from the public and continue to hold accountable those who use their positions as a vehicle to fleece New York’s taxpayers.”

After an investigation, which included an audit that compared the amount of drugs each pharmacy legally purchased against the total amount Medicaid paid each pharmacy, auditors from the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) determined that the pharmacies had not purchased enough inventory to fill all of the prescriptions for which Medicaid ultimately paid.  

Each of the defendants admitted to Supreme Court Justice Steven Barrett that they used their positions in the pharmacies to steal from the Medicaid system by billing or having pharmacy employees bill Medicaid for drugs that they never dispensed to their patients.

Through several corporate entities controlled by him, Sanjay K. Patel, 44, of Edison, New Jersey, owned three of the Bronx pharmacies, Citi Care Pharmacy, at 313 East 161st St.; Community Care Pharmacy, at 979 Westchester Ave.; Family Care Pharmacy, at 1187 Grand Concourse; and the Manhattan-based Village Pharmacy, which was located at 165 West 127th St.

On Nov. 15, investigators arrested Patel and charged him with several counts of grand larceny and conspiracy. In return for a state prison term of one to three years, Patel and his four corporations pleaded guilty to several counts and repaid Medicaid approximately $3 million.

 

December 18, 2012 - 1:23pm


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