The FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice charged eight Florida residents in a $633 million fraud scheme involving pharmacies in the Tampa Bay and Miami areas, the agencies announced.
The eight individuals, from New Port Richey, Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale and Parkland were charged in a 12-count indictment unsealed earlier this month.
The eight defendants are accused of using compounding pharmacies in New Port Richey and Miami to obtain roughly $157 million in reimbursements from October 2012 through December 2015, according to the indictment. The individuals are charged with conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud. Five of the eight co-conspirators also were accused of a trio of money laundering charges.
The defendants allegedly used shell companies to transfer and disburse the money they had received, and to mask their crimes, according to the FBI. The eight defendants allegedly used A to Z Pharmacy in New Port Richey to submit false reimbursement claims for prescription, compounded medications. They also allegedly used Medplus/New Life Pharmacy, Metropolitan Pharmacy, Havana Pharmacy, Jaimy Pharmacy and Prestige Pharmacy, all in the Miami area, to commit fraud.
In total, the pharmacies submitted $633 million in claims for prescriptions, which involved illegal kickbacks and bribes and misused patient information, authorities allege. The reimbursements also allegedly stated that certain medications contained compounds or ingredients, when that wasn't true.
The FBI investigated the case as part of the ongoing Medicare Fraud Strike Force. That task force, formed in March 2007, now operates in nine cities and has charged 2,900 people in connection with Medicare fraud involving at least $10 billion.
Senior Trial Attorney Christopher Hunter of the U.S. Attorney's Office's Criminal Division, Fraud Section, will prosecute the case against Nicholas Borgesano Jr.; Bradley Sirkin; Scott Piccininni; Edwin Patrick Young; Wayne Kreisberg; Matthew Sterner; Peter D. Williams; and Joseph Degregorio.
All are due to make their first appearance in federal court, in the Middle and Southern Districts, in the near future.