Nassau County Pharmacist Gets 4-to-12 Years In Prison For Diverting Drugs As Part Of Multi-million Dollar Drug Ring

March 18, 2007 – Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo announced today that a licensed pharmacist was sentenced to state prison for his role in a multi-million dollar drug diversion and money laundering ring.

Lakhram “Larry” Mangar, 47, of Hyde Park, NY, was sentenced March 14 by Nassau County Court Judge John L. Kase to 4-to-12 years in state prison for Criminal Diversion of Prescription Medications and Prescriptions in the First Degree (a class C felony). Last November, Mangar pleaded guilty to selling diverted prescription medications to an unlicensed and unauthorized wholesaler.

A three-year investigation by the Attorney General’s Office included court-ordered wiretaps and multiple search warrants, which exposed an elaborate scheme to illegally traffic millions of dollars of prescription medications, primarily HIV/AIDS medications. At his plea, Mangar admitted that he and others illegally obtained unused or stolen prescription medications and sold them to wholesalers in New York, Utah and Texas, who, in turn, resold the drugs to retail pharmacies. Because the source of the black market medications was unknown and there were no assurances that they were handled and stored as required, the safety and the efficacy of the medications was compromised.

“This pharmacist and his cohorts deliberately corrupted the drug delivery system for financial gain and put the health of New Yorkers and residents of other states at risk by bringing tainted pharmaceuticals into the market,” Attorney General Cuomo said. “The trafficking of millions of dollars in diverted prescription medications, including those to treat HIV/AIDS, is particularly egregious because it places our most vulnerable residents at risk and squanders millions of Medicaid dollars that were unknowingly spent on black market prescription drugs.”

On December 13, 2006, co-defendant Mohammed “Sahi” Saeed Kahn, 54, of Nassau County, owner of the Rockaway Levonia Pharmacy, Inc., in Brooklyn, pleaded guilty to 24 counts of the indictment, including charges of: Criminal Diversion of Prescription Medications and Prescriptions in the First and Second Degrees (class C and D felonies, respectively), Money Laundering in the Second, Third and Fourth Degrees (class C, D and E felonies, respectively), Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree (a class E felony), and Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree (a class E felony).

Kahn admitted to selling the drugs to an unlicensed wholesaler and using numerous companies, including his pharmacy and Sahi Overseas Trades, to launder millions of dollars in proceeds. Kahn’s sentencing is scheduled for April 25.

On February 7, Mangar’s wife, Karina Mangar, 26, pleaded guilty to Attempted Money Laundering in the Second Degree (a class D felony) for attempting to launder and move approximately $1.7 million that had been hidden behind drywall in their home. She is to be sentenced May 1.

The case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorneys General Lara A. Stingley and Glenn M. Jones of the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit under supervision of Unit Chief Monica Hickey-Martin, First Assistant Attorney General Peter Bloch and Deputy Attorney General William Comiskey.

The Attorney General’s Office has also filed a civil lawsuit seeking asset forfeiture from the defendants and several relatives, and from businesses that allegedly received proceeds from the drug ring. State Supreme Court Justice Thomas A. Adams in Nassau County rejected attempts by the defendant businesses to vacate restraining orders and instructed several to produce records subpoenaed by the Attorney General. The court also rejected a motion by Kahn to release his assets.

The civil case is being handled by Special Assistant Attorney General James Cudden of the Civil Enforcement Unit of the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit under the supervision of Director Paul J. Mahoney.

The sentencing is the culmination of two joint investigations. The first was conducted by the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit with the Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force and the New York State Department of Labor. The second investigation was conducted by the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit with the U.S. Attorney's Office District of Utah; the Food and Drug Administration Office of Criminal Investigations; the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Unit; the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit for the State of Utah. Attorney General Cuomo expressed his gratitude to all agencies that participated in these investigations, as well as the New York State Banking Department, the New York State Education Department, Pfizer, Inc. and Serono, Inc.

 

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