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Post date: March 8 2016

A.G. Schneiderman Announces Arrest Of Pharmacy Owner For Perpetrating An Alleged Prescription Buy-Back-And-Bill Scam

Pharmacist Charged With Fraudulently Billing Medicaid For HIV Medications He Never Dispensed To Patients

Schneiderman: Healthcare Providers Cannot Put Their Own Interests Above The Needs Of Patients For Financial Gain

NEW YORK—Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced the arrest of pharmacist Mohamed Hassan Eladma, 51, of Staten Island, for defrauding the New York State Medicaid program by billing Medicaid for high-value HIV medication that his Brooklyn and Bronx pharmacies never dispensed.  As outlined in documents filed in court, Eladma, a licensed pharmacist and owner of two “Pharmacy Express” pharmacies in Brooklyn and the Bronx is alleged to have paid Medicaid recipients for their prescriptions and to agree to forego their HIV medication listed in the prescriptions. By allegedly knowing that his pharmacies did not dispense the medications, the pharmacies filed over $50,000 in false claims with Medicaid.  Eladma allgedly operated his scam out of Alkheirat Inc. located at 1081 Rutland Road in Brooklyn and Baraka Inc. located at 2088 White Plains Road in the Bronx. 

“Healthcare providers cannot put their own interests above the needs of patients for financial gain,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Theft and abuse of one of New York’s most important healthcare programs is shameless and will not be tolerated.”

“To prey on the most vulnerable New Yorkers for personal gain is appalling,” said Human Resources Administration Commissioner Steven Banks. “We will continue our longstanding partnership with the State Attorney General and the State Medicaid Inspector General to ensure that precious resources are not wasted and that those committing fraud are brought to justice as quickly as possible.”

The investigation, conducted by the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (“MFCU”) in conjunction with investigators from the New York City Human Resources Administration (“HRA”), allegedly revealed that on multiple occasions between May 2014 and January 2016, Eladma paid patients hundreds of dollars in cash in exchange for not receiving their prescription medication, most of which was medication to treat HIV.  The defendants then submitted false claims to Medicaid certifying they had in fact dispensed the medication.  In all, Eladma caused Medicaid to pay his pharmacies over $59,000 based on fraudulent claims.   

Investigators from the Attorney General’s Office and HRA with the assistance of the New York State Office of the Medicaid Inspector General (“OMIG”) executed search warrants this morning at both Pharmacy Express locations in Brooklyn and the Bronx.  Mohamed Hassan Eladma was arrested and charged by felony complaint in New York City Criminal Court, Kings County with Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class D felony; Health Care Fraud in the Third Degree, a class D felony; and Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, a class E felony.  Alkheirat, Inc. was also charged in New York City Criminal Court, Kings County with Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class D felony.   In the Bronx, the Attorney General is in the process of filing a felony complaint charging Baraka, Inc. with Grand Larceny in the Third Degree and summoning a representative of the corporation to answer those charges later this month. Eladma is expected to be arraigned in Kings County Criminal Court later today.

If convicted, Eladma faces up to two and one-third to seven years incarceration.

The charges filed in this case are accusations. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Attorney General Schneiderman thanked OMIG, HRA Commissioner Steven Banks and Assistant HRA Deputy Commissioner Maura Hayes-Chaffe and their staff for their partnership and assistance in this investigation.

The investigation was conducted by Supervising Investigator Ronald Lynch with the assistance of Deputy Chief Investigator Kenneth Morgan, and Associate Special Auditor Investigator Cristina Marin and Auditor Investigator Brian Gonell with the assistance of Regional Chief Auditor Thomasina Smith.

The criminal case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Adam Shlahet with the assistance of MFCU New York City Regional Director Christopher M. Shaw. Thomas O’Hanlon is MFCU’s Chief of Criminal Investigations-Downstate.  MFCU is led by Director Amy Held and Assistant Deputy Attorney General Paul J. Mahoney.  The Division of Criminal Justice is led by Executive Deputy Attorney General Kelly Donovan.

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