NY pharmacist charged with $5mn medicare fraud

Friday, March 20, 2015
[PHOTO: epSos.de/Flickr/CC BY 2.0
New York: A twenty-four-count indictment was unsealed in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, charging Andrew Barrett, a licensed pharmacist, with health care fraud, filing false claims, unlawful monetary transactions, filing false personal tax returns, and the filing of and assisting in the preparation of false corporate tax returns.1 Barrett will be arraigned at 2:00 p.m. today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Steven M. Gold at the U.S. Courthouse, 225 Cadman Plaza East, Brooklyn, New York.

The charges were announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Diego Rodriguez, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), Scott Lampert, Special Agent-in-Charge, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), and Shantelle P. Kitchen, Special Agent-in-Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, New York (IRS-CI).

“As alleged in the indictment, instead of using his pharmacist license to provide valid relief to those in need, Andrew Barrett used it as a license to steal from publicly-funded health care programs and then lied about it on his tax returns,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. “Today’s indictment makes clear that this Office will hold accountable corrupt pharmacists who seek to enrich themselves at the expense of tax-payer funded programs.

“Defrauding Medicare and Medicaid is a serious crime that has consequences for the entire U.S. economy. As alleged, Barrett stole more than $5 million from Medicare and Medicaid for his own personal gain. As evidenced by today’s indictment, the FBI and its partners will vigorously pursue those who seek to steal from taxpayer-funded programs,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Rodriguez.

“The alleged actions by Andrew Barrett diverted scarce taxpayer funds from the Medicare and Medicaid prescription drug programs just for personal enrichment,” said HHS-OIG Special Agent in Charge Lampert. “The HHS Office of Inspector General, together with our law enforcement partners, will continue to vigorously pursue those who steal from government health programs in such greed-fueled schemes.”

IRS-CI Special Agent-in-Charge Kitchen stated, “Individuals who steal from government programs often take the added risk of committing tax crimes in the process, exposing themselves to further criminal sanctions. As the federal agency responsible for investigating criminal tax violations, IRS-Criminal Investigation works with our law enforcement partners on complex financial fraud investigations, with the goals of protecting the American taxpayer and seeing that everyone pays their fair share.”

As alleged in the indictment, from January 2011 to December 2012, Barrett operated pharmacies in Bronx, Rockland, and Queens counties in New York State. From his Queens pharmacy, Barrett fraudulently billed Medicare and Medicaid more than $5 million for prescription medications that he never dispensed to patients. Barrett used more than $4 million of his ill-gotten gains to buy drugs for his pharmacies in the Bronx and Rockland counties. Barrett also siphoned off for personal expenses more than $2.5 million from the Bronx and Rockland pharmacy accounts while falsely claiming those funds as business expenses on his personal and corporate tax returns. The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys William P. Campos and Karen Orenstein.
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