Six Individuals Sentenced for Nearly $8 Million Health Care Fraud Involving Northern Virginia Pharmacies

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The last of six defendants was sentenced April  16, 2021, for participating in multiple health care fraud conspiracies involving kickbacks and fraudulent billings that resulted in nearly $8 million in losses to federal, state, and private health care benefit programs. Some of them are of South Asian origin, including of Indian descent.

“Health insurance programs, and the American public, rely on pharmacy professionals to safeguard the system from harmful kickback schemes, and to make truthful representations about the services they provide,” Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Raj Parekh is quoted saying in the April 16, 2021 press release from the Justice Department. “The defendants betrayed their duties as health care professionals, performed illegal kickbacks, and defrauded essential benefit programs out of millions of dollars. EDVA is committed to prosecuting those who exploit taxpayers and engage in the unacceptable fleecing of these important public institutions and programs.”

According to court documents, from at least January 2014 through at least the end of 2018, Mohamed Abdalla, 48, of Allendale, New Jersey, who owned multiple pharmacies in northern Virginia, “oversaw and executed two related schemes to defraud health care benefit programs,” the press release said. One scheme involved the payment or receipt of unlawful kickbacks for expensive drugs and devices in violation of the federal Anti-Kickback Statute. Another scheme involved billing federal, state, and private health care benefit programs for numerous expensive drugs and devices that were not medically necessary, not prescribed by a physician, or were not received by a beneficiary.

In addition, Abdalla and employees at his pharmacies conspired to defraud federal, state, and private health care benefit programs by engaging in numerous other schemes, including billing for prescriptions in the names of themselves, family members, and other pharmacy employees that were not medically necessary and/or not prescribed by a licensed physician, and billing for prescriptions for pharmacy customers that were never filled. These additional schemes resulted in a loss to these health care benefit programs of approximately $6,216,434.39, the press release said.

The other employees involved in the schemes named in the press release, include Onkur Lal, 30, of Alexandria, who worked for Abdalla as a pharmacy technician and pharmacy intern before ultimately working as a licensed pharmacist; Mohammed Tariq Amin, 35, of Fairfax, who worked for Abdalla as a pharmacy technician and was the general manager of Royal Care for almost two years; Daniel Tyler Walker, 51, of Lewes, Delaware, worked as a pharmaceutical sales specialist for a pharmaceutical company and was responsible for marketing an expensive naloxone auto-injector device used to treat opioid emergencies; Seth Michael Myers, 53, of Crystal Lake, Illinois; and Michael Beatty, 53, of Finksburg, Maryland who worked as a licensed pharmacist at Fallston Pharmacy in Fallston, Maryland.

On March 19, Abdalla was sentenced to four years in prison for his role; On March 5, Lal was sentenced to three years in prison. Amin was sentenced April 16, to two years in prison. Walker, Myers, and Beatty were also sentenced to various terms in prison, according to the press release.

 

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