Babak Bamdad, 42, of Hoboken, pleaded guilty to a charge of third-degree Medicaid fraud before state Superior Court Judge Kevin G. Callahan in Jersey City, state Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Riza Dagli said.
Callahan scheduled sentencing for July 28. Third-degree crimes carry a maximum sentence of five years in state prison and a criminal fine of up to $10,000.
In pleading guilty, Bamdad, a pharmacist in charge at Tucker Drugs at 1000 Washington St., admitted that between Jan. 1 and Oct. 9 of last year, he submitted claims to the Medicaid program for prescription drugs allegedly dispensed to Medicaid beneficiaries, even though the drugs were never dispensed. The claims were subsequently paid out by the Medicaid program.The investigation by the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor revealed that Bamdad accepted fictitious prescriptions for Prevacid, Advair and Singulair from undercover detectives as payment for narcotic prescription drugs.
The plea resulted from an ongoing investigation by the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the Jersey City police.
Since October, more than 32 people, including doctors and pharmacists, have been arrested in the joint investigation, which uncovered a major criminal narcotics network based in Hudson County that distributed thousands of black market prescription pain pills such as OxyContin and Percocet.
The network was obtaining fraudulent narcotics prescriptions and filling them at various pharmacies. At the same time, Medicaid was being billed for phony doctor visits and prescription medicines that were never dispensed.
The network allegedly distributed the prescription pain pills throughout Hudson and other parts of the state, including Bergen, Ocean, Morris and Monmouth counties. A single 30 milligram OxyContin pill, known as a "blue," typically sells for $10 to $20 on the street, while a10 milligram Percocet pill sells for $5 to $8.
Deputy Attorney General Debra A. Conrad represented the state at the guilty plea hearing. Det. Kevin Gannon, Sgt. Frederick Weidman and Deputy Attorneys General Cynthia Vasquez joined Conrad in conducting the investigation with the Jersey City police.
– TOM HESTER SR., NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM