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In the News

Three Pharmacies busted in Medicaid Scam, New York Post, November 25, 2014
Three Brooklyn pharmacies — operated by a man convicted of scamming Medicaid in 2008 — were busted for bilking the health care system out of $5 million by billing for prescriptions that were never dispensed, authorities said Monday.
The most egregious was Perfect Gift Pharmacy in Brownsville, which showed a more than $3.5 million shortfall of drugs that were allegedly never sold to patients but billed to Medicaid anyway, according to an audit by state Attorney General Schneiderman.
Joseph Cepeda, one of the seven scammers arrested, is accused of funneling patients from a local doctor’s office to Perfect Gift Pharmacy, where clerk Chaudury M. Yaqoob would pay cash for the prescriptions. The pharmacy would then bill Medicaid even though prescriptions were never filled.
The scheme also took place at Princess Pharmacies in Bed-Stuy, which allegedly swindled $955,000, and Bright RX in Crown Heights, which pocketed $861,000, audits showed.
The three drugstores were owned and operated by the family of Munir A. Khan, who was deported to Pakistan following his conviction on adulteration of prescription drugs and filing false tax returns charges, the investigation found. To hide his involvement, Khan’s daughter Beenish Daha was recorded in state documents as running Perfect Gift and Princess pharmacies, while her brother, Muhammed Z. Khan operated Bright Rx.
The investigation also revealed Medicaid paid out nearly $1.5 million to Perfect Gift and Bright RX despite using supervising pharmacists Louis A. Pisani and Kenneth Brown – who are barred from participating in the Medicaid program.
“Those who defraud Medicaid to line their own pockets are scamming taxpayers and depriving others of important health care services, and today’s indictment sends a clear message that there will be consequences,” said AG Eric Schneiderman.
Munir Khan, Muhammed Khan, Daha, Pisani, Brown, Yaqoob and Cepeda are facing various felony charges of grand larceny and offering a false instrument for filing.

Family Members involved in large scale Medicaid, Food Stamp and Mortgage Fraud, CBS news, November 13, 2014
Twelve members of a single family in White Plains, New York were charged Thursday with lying to lenders to obtain more than $20 million in mortgage loans over the past decade. Several of the defendants also were charged with fraudulently receiving hundreds of thousands in food stamps, Medicaid and home-heating help.
An indictment unsealed in federal court in White Plains charged Irving Rubin and his relatives with conspiring to defraud and conspiring to make false statements. It alleged that family members — from Brooklyn and Kiryas Joel, in Orange County — used the proceeds to pay their credit card debts and their own home mortgages and to fund other real estate projects.
The defendants include Rubin, his wife, two sons, three brothers and five in-laws. A lawyer and an appraiser also were charged.
The indictment said family members lied to lenders about their assets, income, employment and primary residence to obtain mortgages on at least 18 properties they claimed to own, most of them in Brooklyn.
The lies gave “the false appearance of creditworthiness, when in fact the assets and/or bank accounts were nonexistent” or were not fully owned by the applicant, the indictment said.
It said they “engaged in extensive efforts to perpetuate and conceal” the scheme. For example, some of the defendants allegedly made sham transfers among themselves, “thereby confounding attempts by lenders to recover on defaulted loans,” the indictment said.
Several defendants also were charged with fraudulently receiving hundreds of thousands in food stamps, Medicaid and home-heating help.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said the accused were either princes or paupers, depending on what best suited their needs.
“Many of the defendants claimed poverty to defraud federal, state and local government, including Medicaid, the food stamp program,” Bharara told reporters, including WCBS 880′s Irene Cornell and 1010 WINS’ Al Jones.
“They paid little or no income taxes, all to divert money to their own pockets.”
At the same time, many defendants were allegedly claiming considerable wealth in order to qualify for high-dollar mortgages. They defrauded banks by not paying them back, Bharara said.
“Regardless of whether they were posing as rich men or poor men, they were always con men,” Bharara said.
There was no immediate information on defense attorneys or hometowns.
A family friend, however, said the family is pillars of the Orthodox community.
“Very generous people, very respected people,” the man told Jones.

Prescription Drug Fraud case: New York Post, By Antonio Antenucci and Rebecca Rosenberg,  October 29, 2014
A Brooklyn doctor was busted Wednesday for selling over 200 oxycodone prescriptions worth about $700,000 on the black market, authorities said.
Dr. Schiller Desgrottes, 65, wrote the scripts in at least 19 different names and sold them to a co conspirator for about $200 each, court papers state.
He’s estimated to have made about $45,000 in cash over four years for writing 227 illegal scripts for the powerful painkiller also known as Oxycontin.
The pills are believed to have been distributed in New York City and the surrounding region, according to the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor, who’s handling the case.
The majority of the 19 names used on the prescriptions belonged to runners who had agreed to fill the scripts at pharmacies in exchange for a fee. Three of the names were fictitious, court papers show.
Six weeks after one of the runners died, Desgrottes still wrote and sold a script in that person’s name, authorities said.
Desgrottes of Dix Hill Long Island pleaded not guilty Wednesday to 228 counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance and conspiracy.
Justice Melissa Jackson set bail at $500,000.Defense attorney Frank Rothman said his client, who has no criminal history, denies the allegations. ”He’s not in great spirits, being handcuffed , being in a 10×10 cell for the first time,” the lawyer said. “To be there as a 65-year old man is not what you expect out of life.”

USDA Awards Grants to Help States Cut Down on SNAP Benefit Trafficking
WASHINGTON, September 30, 2014 – Agriculture Undersecretary Kevin Concannon today announced the release of just over $5 million in
grant funds to identify, track, and prevent misuse of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits by program recipients.
These grants will particularly help state agencies reduce SNAP trafficking, primarily the exchange of benefits for cash or other goods or
“USDA is committed to ensuring that SNAP benefits are used as intended, helping families put food on the table,” said Concannon. “SNAP
fraud is rare, but no level of abuse is acceptable. USDA continues to enhance our efforts to combat retailer fraud, and partner with states to
improve recipient-focused investigations.”
The SNAP Recipient Trafficking Prevention Grant Program was designed to improve outcomes in the prevention, detection, and prosecution
of recipient trafficking. Recipients found guilty of trafficking are subject to severe penalties, including permanent disqualification from the
program and criminal prosecution. USDA intends to review the results of these projects to determine the most effective strategies and then
share those best practices with state agencies, nationwide.