Two pharmacists from Upper Saddle River were sentenced to probation Friday for their roles in a scheme in which pharmacy owners and employees bought completed prescription forms for HIV/AIDS drugs from indigent patients so Medicaid could be billed for drugs that were never actually dispensed.
Nadeem Akhtar, 52, was given three years of probation. He also had to surrender his pharmacist license for three years and is barred from the Medicaid program for eight years.
Omar Mohammad, 34, was given one year of probation. He also had to surrender his pharmacist license for a period of one year and is barred from the Medicaid program for five years.
Akhtar and Mohammad were sentenced by state Superior Court Judge Martin Cronin in Newark. The sentences were based on their Nov. 14 guilty pleas to third-degree Medicaid fraud.
In pleading guilty, Akhtar, who was a pharmacist at Orange Drugs in Newark, admitted that between May 11, 2006 and Oct. 15, 2008 he offered bribes to Medicaid beneficiaries to induce them to bring their prescriptions to Orange Drugs. Mohammad, also a pharmacist at Orange Drugs, pleaded guilty to knowingly submitting claims to the Medicaid program for drugs that were not dispensed.
State Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Ronald Chillemi said the case was part of Operation PharmScam, which revealed that six pharmacies and two medical clinics in Jersey City and Newark participated in a multi-million dollar conspiracy to defraud Medicaid. The investigation involved more than 25 people, including pharmacists, doctors, physician assistants, pharmacy technicians and Medicaid beneficiaries.
Under the scheme, the pharmacies were billing Medicaid for high priced AIDS/HIV and specialty drugs that were never ordered from the wholesalers or dispensed to the beneficiaries.
Det. Kevin Gannon and Deputy Attorneys General David Noble and Dolores Blackburn handled the investigation and prosecution.
—TOM HESTER SR., NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM