A.G. Schneiderman Announces Guilty Pleas In Medicaid Thefts Totaling $10 Million By Five NYC Pharmacies
Investigation Uncovers Similar Medicaid Rip Off By Owners And Supervising Pharmacists
A.G. Schneiderman: These Unscrupulous Pharmacists Will Repay All Ill-Gotten Gains And The Most Egregious Offender Is Going To Jail
NEW YORK ‑ Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced the culmination of a wide-ranging investigation into a series of New York City pharmacies that for years systematically bilked the state’s Medicaid program of millions of dollars by submitting bills for drugs that they never dispensed to their patients, most of whom were enrolled in Medicaid. Five owners or supervising pharmacists of four Bronx and one Manhattan pharmacy have pleaded guilty in Bronx Supreme Court to stealing a total of $9.9 million from Medicaid. Lead culprit Sanjay K. Patel stole the vast majority, $7.7 million, of the Medicaid funds and is facing jail time.
“These five pharmacists were caught red handed and now they are being brought to justice,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “My office will track down those who steal from the public and continue to hold accountable those who use their positions as a vehicle to fleece New York’s taxpayers.”
After an investigation, which included an audit that compared the amount of drugs each pharmacy legally purchased against the total amount Medicaid paid each pharmacy, auditors from the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) determined that the pharmacies had not purchased enough inventory to fill all of the prescriptions for which Medicaid ultimately paid. Each of the defendants listed below admitted to Supreme Court Justice Steven Barrett that they used their positions in the pharmacies to steal from the Medicaid system by billing or having pharmacy employees bill Medicaid for drugs that they never dispensed to their patients, most of whom were enrolled in Medicaid.
Through several corporate entities controlled by him, Sanjay K. Patel, 44, of Edison, New Jersey, owned three of the Bronx pharmacies, Citi Care Pharmacy, at 313 East 161st Street; Community Care Pharmacy, at 979 Westchester Avenue; Family Care Pharmacy, at 1187 Grand Concourse; and the Manhattan-based Village Pharmacy, which was located at 165 West 127th Street.
On November 15, MFCU investigators arrested and charged Patel with several counts of Grand Larceny in the First and Fourth Degrees and Conspiracy for using his pharmacies to steal from Medicaid from 2003 to 2008. In return for a state prison term of one to three years, Patel and his four corporations, Yogi Yagna Corp., Swamishreeji Corp., Swami Krupa Corp., and Akshar Health Corp., pleaded guilty to two counts of Grand Larceny in the First Degree, one count of Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree and one count Conspiracy in the First Degree. As part of his plea agreement, Patel has already paid Medicaid approximately $3 million dollars and he has agreed to repay an additional $4.7 million in restitution to New York State.
Divy Dixit, 43, of Edison, New Jersey, is a part owner and the supervising pharmacist of Akshar Pharmacy, located at 2200 Grand Concoursein the Bronx. MFCU investigators arrested and charged Dixit with Grand Larceny in the First Degree for stealing over a million dollars from Medicaid from 2005 to 2008. Dixit pleaded guilty to Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class “C” felony. The Court agreed to sentence Dixit to five years probation and 300 hours of community service. As part of Dixit’s plea conditions, he will repay the Medicaid program full restitution of $1,041,491.77 plus interest before he is sentenced.
Sanjay R. Patel, 47, of Edison, New Jersey, is a part owner and the supervising pharmacist of Nayosha Pharmacy L.L.C., at 755-B East 149th Street in the Bronx. MFCU investigators charged him with Grand Larceny in the First Degree for stealing $1,266,483 from Medicaid from 2003 to 2008. He pleaded guilty to Grand Larceny in the Second Degree. The Court agreed to sentence him to a split sentence of six months home confinement and five years probation. As part of Sanjay R. Patel’s plea conditions, he will pay full restitution of $1,266,483.59 plus interest before he is sentenced.
Alpesh Patel, 43, of Elmwood, New Jersey, was a part owner and the supervising pharmacist of Yogi Pharmacy, at 1945A University Avenue in the Bronx. He was charged with Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree for stealing $252,401.62 from Medicaid between 2004 to 2008. He pleaded guilty to Petit Larceny, a class “A” misdemeanor. The Court agreed to sentence Alpesh Patel to a conditional discharge and 300 hours of community service. As part of Alpesh Patel’s plea conditions, he will pay full restitution to the Medicaid program plus interest before he is sentenced.
Bharat Patel, 46, of Manhattan, was the supervising pharmacist of Family Care Pharmacy located at 1187 Grand Concourse in the Bronx. He was charged with Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree for stealing over $150,000 from Medicaid between 2003 and 2008. Bharat Patel pleaded guilty today to Petit Larceny, a class “A” misdemeanor, and was sentenced to a conditional discharge and 300 hours of community service. As part of his plea conditions, he paid full restitution of $158,385.38 plus interest before he was sentenced.
The men were all arrested Nov. 15. Other than Bharat Patel and Sanjay K. Patel, who are brothers, the men are not related.
The investigation was handled by Special Assistant Attorney General Debra Glatt, who is supervised by Deputy Regional Director Thomas O’Hanlon. Special Investigator Joseph Deserio, Special Auditor Investigator Olga Sunitsky and Principal Special Auditor Emmanuel Archer worked on the case, which was overseen by MFCU Director Monica Hickey-Martin and Executive Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Justice Kelly Donovan.