The New York State Attorney General recently sentenced a pharmacist for his role in a healthcare fraud scheme. The government accused the medical professional of filing over 1.5 million in fraudulent payments with the New York State Medicaid program.
Criminal charges explained: The government charged the pharmacist with Health Care Fraud in the Second Degree — a felony in New York. The agency also accused the pharmacist of illegally accepting kickback payments.
The scheme allegedly occurred from January 2012 through November of 2013. During this time the accused allegedly paid kickbacks to a hospital employee in exchange for steering prescriptions to his business. These kickbacks allegedly included cash payments, tickets to sporting events and electronic devices like iPads.
Harsh penalties show New York continues its crackdown on healthcare fraud: The government pursued harsh penalties in this case. The Queens County Supreme Court heard the case. Ultimately, the court agreed with the government. In addition to the 6-month prison sentence noted above, the court ordered the pharmacist to pay $1.5 million in restitution along with an additional $1.5 million in penalties.
These types of cases are not uncommon. Regulatory agencies continue to push for investigations of pharmacies and pharmacists that are accused of such crimes. It is wise to take prompt action to protect your rights if you or your business is the subject of such an investigation. An attorney experienced in pharmacy and pharmacist defense can help. We can discuss how to comply with the law in the future and while actively addressing any current allegations.