Virginia Pharmacy Owner Sentenced for Prescription Medication Fraud

But, it sure strikes me that there must be more to this story than we are being told!

My first question is how does a 29-year-old, Latif Mohamed Chowdhury, aka Gulam Latif Chaudhury, who is not a Pharmacist, come to own two pharmacies and set up this elaborate scheme to get his hands on dangerous drugs and bilk insurance companies and Medicare and Medicaid out of hundreds of thousands of dollars?  A 29-year-old!  Clearly there is something more.

Indeed I wonder how he managed such a light sentence—4 years—when he could have gotten twenty as noted here in an earlier article about his arrest.

Did he cut some deal with the feds to help them find bigger fish involved in the scheme?

This is the press statement from the US Justice Department on Chowdury’s sentencing. Thanks as always to readers who find important stories like this one that doubtless few will ever hear about otherwise.

Former Pharmacy Owner Sentenced for Prescription Medication Fraud

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A former pharmacy owner was sentenced today [September 27th—ed] to four years in prison for fraudulently filling and dispensing thousands of prescription medications, including opioids, outside the usual course of professional practice.

“Chowdhury blithely violated his position of trust,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “Chowdhury’s warped business philosophy led him to illegally distribute a significant number of prescription medications, including dangerous, addictive opioids. Moreover, his reckless actions add to the financial cost of health care as he fraudulently billed at least $500,000 to health insurance programs for prescriptions that were never filled.”

According to court documents, Latif Mohamed Chowdhury, aka Gulam Latif Chaudhury, 29, operated and controlled two now-defunct pharmacies known as Alexandria Care Pharmacy LLC (ACP-1) and Alexandria Care Pharmacy Store #2 LLC (ACP-2). Chowdhury has never been a licensed pharmacist and has no medical qualifications. Nonetheless, between August 2015 and February 2016, Chowdhury fraudulently operated ACP-1 and ACP-2 by personally filling and dispensing thousands of dosage units of medications, including opioids, without a licensed pharmacist on-site. Chowdhury used the identities of licensed pharmacists, without their permission, to carry out his scheme.

“Chowdhury used his trusted position to enrich himself at the expense of others,” said Timothy M. Dunham, Special Agent in Charge, Criminal Division, FBI Washington Field Office. “Today’s sentencing makes it clear that the illegal distribution of opioids will not be tolerated. The FBI will work closely with our partners to continue to investigate allegations of healthcare fraud.”

Chowdhury admitted to fraudulently billing health insurance benefit programs, including Medicare and Medicaid, for refills of prescription medications that were not delivered to customers even though his pharmacies received payment for these prescriptions. Chowdhury also submitted fraudulent health insurance claims in the names of pharmacy customers for medications that were not authorized by any physician, and were not dispensed to any of the customers, in order to enrich himself through illicit profits generated by ACP-1 and ACP-2.

More here.

Of course no mention is made of his immigration status.

Michigan: 'New American' Pharmacists Charged in Medicare Fraud Case; Billed for Meds for Dead People

Until I started investigating fraud cases involving Medicare and Medicaid, I had no idea that there were so many pharmacists on-the-take.  And, this is one more case that makes me ask—What! Don’t we have enough US born and educated pharmacists without importing foreign ones?
Of course, as is almost always the case, there is no mugshot, and no information on the nationality and immigration status of this bunch of alleged crooks named by the US Justice Department in an unsealed indictment earlier this week charging that they ripped us off for $9.2 million:

Wansa Nabih Makki, 41, of Dearborn

Mohamad Ali Makki, R.Ph., 43, of Dearborn Heights

Mahmoud Makki., 36, of Dearborn

Hossam Tanana, 53 of Dearborn

 

Pharmacy fraud
According to a Press & Guide story: “The pharmacy in Livonia that some of the defendants were working out of, bore no signs that anything other than a dental office was inside.”  http://www.pressandguide.com/news/four-people-indicted-in-million-laundering-scheme-at-area-pharmacy/article_76eec6fc-5c80-11e9-890c-bb73ed71aebf.html

 
By the way, I think Michigan may ultimately win the prize for the state with the most frauds and crooks (aka new American entrepreneurs) ripping off the US health care system.
Continue reading “Michigan: 'New American' Pharmacists Charged in Medicare Fraud Case; Billed for Meds for Dead People”

Imprisoned West Virginia Pharmacist (from Uganda) Ordered to Pay Fine

So, big deal, why bother with a fine when he is in prison and everything he owns has already been repossessed.

wasanyi
David M. Wasanyi

I was interested in this story when I saw it this week in my local newspaper because the creep who was involved in fueling America’s drug epidemic didn’t look like a local.
He isn’t, but it took a little searching to find out more about DR. DAVID MUSISI WASANYI (he is referred to as David M. Wasanyi in the many news accounts of this ‘new Americans’ crimes).
Although I didn’t have enough interest to go much further after I discovered in court papers that he is from Uganda, I will venture a guess that his pharmacist degree isn’t even legit.
I didn’t see any media mention that the convicted creep is an immigrant, a new American, who is now costing US taxpayers a bundle for his incarceration.  And, I didn’t see a word about deportation either.
Continue reading “Imprisoned West Virginia Pharmacist (from Uganda) Ordered to Pay Fine”

Colorado Pharmacist on the Run after Bilking Medicare/Medicaid out of Nearly $8 Million

The Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office made former pharmacy owner George Sackey one of its featured fugitives of the week.
George Sackey
 
I did do some digging about Sackey and although nothing about his immigration status and nationality came up, there are many many Sackey’s originating in Ghana.
Here is a bit about Sackey and his “community” pharmacies at LinkedIn,

Free consulting services to the Colorado African population and the general public as a whole.
My goal is to provide as much help as possible to the underprivileged who otherwise may not be as fortunate and blessed as I’m (sic). It is also a way to give back to the community.

My suspicion is that Sackey is a ‘new American’ entrepreneur who has now apparently skipped the country after cutting off his ankle monitor.
Continue reading “Colorado Pharmacist on the Run after Bilking Medicare/Medicaid out of Nearly $8 Million”

Is your Neighborhood Pharmacist a Crook?

Some are, but maybe not your local friendly, helpful health professional!

sessions and weed
You can bet the drug industry and the Medicare fraudsters were happy to see Sessions out as Attorney General

A little over six months ago, then Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a major federal crackdown on doctors, pharmacists and other health providers for fueling the opioid crisis and using your Medicare and Medicaid dollars to line their pockets.
Here is a bit of one story about Sessions’ announcement.
From State News June 28, 2018:

Federal agencies on Thursday announced charges in what Attorney General Jeff Sessions called “the largest health care fraud takedown in American history,” an investigation into over $2 billion in alleged fraud by doctors, pharmacists, and nurses.
Many of the allegations centered on illegitimate opioid prescriptions. The Justice Department charged 162 defendants, including 76 doctors, for their roles dispensing opioids and narcotics, the result of investigations spanning 30 state Medicaid programs and numerous enforcement agencies.
[….]
“Some of our most trusted medical officials, professionals, look at their patients, vulnerable people suffering from addiction, and they see dollar signs,” Sessions said.
The alleged fraud and false billings collectively accounted for 13 million illegal opioid dosages, the Justice Department said, and also included 23 pharmacists and 19 nurses.
The Department of Health and Human Services also announced that since July 2017, it has excluded over 2,700 individuals and 587 providers from Medicare and Medicaid “for conduct related to opioid diversion and abuse” — including 67 doctors, 402 nurses, and 40 pharmacy services.

More here.

Here are a couple of more recent cases of Pharmacy fraud

Don’t miss my post from last week about Pharmacist Haytham “Tom” Fakih in Dearborn, Michigan.
Florida Fraudster
From a Justice Department Press release in December, here.

The owner of a Miami, Florida-area pharmacy who caused Medicare to pay more than $8.4 million over a six-year period for prescription drugs that were never provided to beneficiaries was sentenced today to 87 months in prison.
[….]
Antonio Perez Jr., 48, of Miami Beach, Florida, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Federico A. Moreno of the Southern District of Florida, who also ordered Perez to pay $8,415,824 in restitution and to forfeit the same amount. Perez was ordered to forfeit four Miami-area properties worth approximately $700,000 and multiple bank accounts totaling over $250,000. Perez previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud.
[….]
During the course of the scheme, Medicare paid Valles Pharmacy Discount over $32 million, of which at least $8.4 million was for prescription drugs that Valles Pharmacy never purchased and never provided to Medicare beneficiaries, Perez admitted.

 

ahktmar-pharmacy
The owner of Akhtamar Pharmacy will be sentenced in February.

 
California case
***Update*** Tatarian gets four years in the ‘big house.’  See here.
Also in December a federal jury found Pharmacist Tamar Tatarian, 39, of Pasadena, California guilty of a Medicare fraud scheme after she billed Medicare $1.3 million for drugs she never purchased or distributed.
You will be interested to see that she was one of those caught in Sessions’ big sweep earlier this year.
Tatarian, the owner of Akhtamar Pharmacy, will be sentenced next month.
 

question markSecret decoder ring at work!  Tatarian must be Armenian. See the Legend of Akhtamar.  My reference to Secret decoder ring comes from Ann Coulter’s ‘Adios America’ where she rightly points out that readers of news stories about crooks and criminals must search for clues about where the alleged perp might come from and how he/she got in to the country.
Exception!  See yesterday’s post about the Russians ripping off Washington staters! There the reporter actually says where those arrested were from.