- Attorney General Paula T. Dow and Acting
Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Ronald Chillemi
announced that a Hudson County man was sentenced
to 22 years in state prison today for leading
a narcotics ring that defrauded Medicaid
and distributed black market prescription
pain pills such as OxyContin and Percocet
in Hudson, Bergen, Ocean, Morris and Monmouth
counties. A West Orange doctor was also
sentenced to three years in prison today
for his role in the fraud.
to Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Chillemi,
Louis Lisi, 36, of Union City, was sentenced
to 22 years in state prison, including 9
years of parole ineligibility, by Superior
Court Judge Paul M. DePascale in Hudson
County. Lisi was also ordered to pay $26,800
in restitution to the New Jersey Medicaid
program. He pled guilty on July 6 to a first-degree
charge of leader of a narcotics trafficking
network. In addition, Judge DePascale sentenced
Dr. Clifton Howell, 54, of West Orange,
to three years in state prison and ordered
him to pay $101,281 in restitution and $101,281
in civil penalties. Howell pleaded guilty
on July 6 to a charge of health care claims
fraud. He will be excluded as a physician
from the Medicaid program for five years.
Howell also agreed to forfeit $131,281 in
assets that were seized from him by the
men were charged in a Feb. 14, 2011 indictment
stemming from Operation MedScam, a joint
investigation by both the Medicaid Fraud
Control Unit of the Office of the Insurance
Fraud Prosecutor and the Jersey City Police
Department’s Special Investigation
Unit. The state has recovered more than
half a million dollars for the Medicaid
program and law enforcement agencies through
court-ordered restitution and penalties
in Operation MedScam.
was responsible for distributing dangerous
narcotics in our communities and leading
a major criminal network that obtained its
supply of prescription pain pills through
Medicaid fraud,” said Attorney General
Dow. “This lengthy prison sentence
reflects two of our law enforcement priorities
– putting a stop to Medicaid fraud
and taking drug traffickers off the street.”
Medicaid Fraud Control Unit partnered with
the Jersey City Police Department in this
complex, multi-faceted investigation,”
said Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Chillemi.
“We’ve secured 34 convictions
to date, encompassing a wide range of defendants,
including street-level drug dealers and
licensed professionals who committed Medicaid
fraud. The significant prison sentence for
this ringleader should act as a strong deterrent
to others who would commit such crimes.”
Jersey City Police Department, in cooperation
with the Division of Criminal Justice, is
targeting a problem that is increasing both
statewide and nationwide,” said Jersey
City Police Chief Thomas Comey. “Other
agencies can look to this investigation
and prosecution for a strong example of
how to combat the trend in the black market
distribution of prescription drugs.
and Howell were indicted along with Amir
Tadros, 34, of Jersey City, the supervising
pharmacist at Five Corners Pharmacy in Jersey
City. Tadros pleaded guilty in May to third-degree
health care claims fraud and received a
sentence of probation. Tadros was ordered
to pay $55,586 in restitution and is excluded
from the Medicaid program for five years.
The indictment charged that between April
2008 and February 2010, the three men conspired
with more than 30 others in an enterprise
that unlawfully distributed prescription
narcotics. Another ringleader, two other
pharmacists and 28 street-level drug dealers
previously pleaded guilty in the case. A
second doctor, Magdy Elamir, 58, of Saddle
River, was indicted on July 15, 2010. The
charges against Elamir are pending.
pleading guilty, Lisi admitted that he was
one of the leaders of the enterprise who
financed, organized, supervised and managed
the subordinate members in the transportation
and distribution state-wide of prescription
narcotics, including Oxycodone and Percocet.
The enterprise sold thousands of prescription
pain pills each week across New Jersey.
A single 30 milligram OxyContin pill, known
as a “blue,” typically sells
for $10 to $20 on the street, while a 10
milligram Percocet pill sells for $5 to
admitted that he was one of the licensed
medical professionals involved in this ring.
He admitted that between January 1, 2009
and Oct. 19, 2009, he knowingly caused a
claim to be submitted to the Medicaid program
for a prescription drug dispensed to a Medicaid
beneficiary, when in fact the prescription
drug was not dispensed to the intended individual.
In December 2009, Howell agreed to the temporary
suspension of his medical license in lieu
of a formal disciplinary hearing before
the New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners.
The Board revoked his license effective
Sept. 6, 2011.
Attorneys General Debra Conrad and Cynthia
Vazquez, Detective Kevin Gannon, and Sgt.
Frederick Weidman represented OIFP in this
matter. They were assisted by Analysts Mitzi
Gross and James Reilly. OIFP Deputy Attorney
General Nina Bonner handled the asset forfeiture
action. The following members of the Jersey
City Police Department’s Special Investigation
Unit worked on the investigation under the
supervision of Chief Thomas Comey: Capt.
Gary Lallo, Lt. Frederick Younger, Sgt.
Anthony Musante, Sgt. Wally Wolf, Detective
Wael Shahid, Detective Jeff Guilfoyle, Detective
Vincent Disbrow, Detective Hector Marrero,
Police Officer Alex Torres, Police Officer
Chris Dolan, Police Officer Eamon Nally
and Police Officer Erik Infantes.