- Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa announced
that two pharmacists were sentenced today
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.
Akhtar, 52, of Upper Saddle River, was sentenced
to three years of probation. Akhtar also
surrendered his pharmacist license for a
period of three years and will be debarred
from the Medicaid program for eight years.
Omar Mohammad, 34, also of Upper Saddle
River, was sentenced to one year of probation.
Mohammad also surrendered his pharmacist
license for a period of one year and will
be debarred from the Medicaid program for
five years. Akhtar and Mohammad were sentenced
by Superior Court Judge Martin Cronin in
Essex County. The sentences were based on
the defendants’ Nov. 14 guilty pleas
to third-degree Medicaid fraud. The charges
were contained in an October 26, 2009 state
grand jury indictment.
pleading guilty, Akhtar, who was a licensed
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 licensed
pharmacist at Orange Drugs, pleaded guilty
to knowingly submitting claims to the Medicaid
program for drugs that were not dispensed.
to Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Ronald
Chillemi, this 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 individuals, including
pharmacists, doctors, physician assistants,
pharmacy technicians and Medicaid beneficiaries.
Under this 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.
Kevin Gannon and Deputy Attorneys General
David Noble and Dolores Blackburn were assigned
to the investigation. Noble and Blackburn
represented the Office of the Insurance
Fraud Prosecutor at the sentencing hearing.