BOSTON - A Dorchester pharmacist was sentenced yesterday in federal court for
conspiracy to defraud the United States government by submitting false claims to Medicaid, a
Ernest M. McGee, 51, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton to 12
months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release. McGee was also ordered
to pay restitution to Medicaid in the amount of $292,635, and to Medicare in the amount of
$60,037. On July 19, 2011 McGee pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the government.
McGee was an assistant pharmacist at Codman Square Pharmacy in Dorchester, which
was owned by Amadiegwu Onujiogu, also a registered pharmacist. Onujiogu and McGee paid
customers to bring prescriptions to the pharmacy, but did not dispense the medications to them.
McGee solicited and received the actual prescriptions purportedly issued and signed by the
individuals’ physicians, and then submitted claims for payment to Medicaid and Medicare for
the prescriptions and their refills, without physically dispensing the medication to the
Customers who participated regularly in this prescription purchasing scheme were
typically individuals suffering from HIV/AIDS and/or psychiatric disorders such as depression
and bi-polar disorder. Many of these individuals were drug addicted, and some were homeless.
These customers were encouraged by McGee to bring their prescriptions to the
pharmacy, and to sell them for cash, with payments to the customers ranging from one-tenth to
one-third of the amount the pharmacy would bill Medicaid, as well as, in some instances,
Medicare as a secondary insurance. McGee knew that because the medications were not in fact
being dispensed as intended, these customers were not receiving or taking the medications they
had been prescribed. McGee paid a percentage of the value of the medications to the
beneficiaries, in cash, in the back room of Codman Square Pharmacy, without ever dispensing
the medications. Some of these medications fraudulently billed to Medicaid and Medicare cost
more than $1,000 per month. In total, Medicaid paid at least $292,000 and Medicare paid at
least $60,000 to Codman Square Pharmacy for these fraudulently billed prescriptions.
Onujiogu was convicted separately of the same crime, and was sentenced in June 2011 to
15 months in prison, and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $352,675 and forfeiture of
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Susan J. Waddell, Special Agent in Charge,
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, Boston Regional
Office of Investigations; Mark Dragonetti, Special Agent in Charge of the Food and Drug
Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations; Kevin Lane, Acting Special Agent in Charge,
Drug Enforcement Administration - Boston Field Division; and Boston Police Commissioner
Edward Davis, Commissioner made the announcement today.
The case was investigated by the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of
Inspector General; the Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations; the
Drug Enforcement Administration; the Office of the Attorney General, Medicaid Fraud Division;
the Office of the State Auditor, Bureau of Special Investigations; and the Boston Police
Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Shelbey D. Wright of Ortiz’s
Health Care Fraud Unit.