Owner of New York City Pharmacies Charged in Scheme to Defraud Medicare and Medicaid
Defendant’s Pharmacies Allegedly Received Reimbursements for Prescription Drugs Not Dispensed, Not Prescribed or Not Medically Necessary
The owner of four pharmacies in Queens, New York, will be arraigned later today in federal court in Brooklyn on an indictment charging her with submitting millions of dollars in claims as part of a scheme to defraud Medicare and Medicaid. The proceeding will take place before U.S. Magistrate Judge Steven L. Tiscione at 11:00 a.m.
Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Richard P. Donoghue for the Eastern District of New York, Assistant Director in Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. of the FBI New York Field Office and Special Agent in Charge Scott J. Lampert of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General New York Region (HHS-OIG), announced the indictment.
As alleged in the indictment, Aleah Mohammed, aka “Aleah Haniff,” 33, of Queens, New York, was the owner and operator of Superdrugs Inc., Superdrugs I Inc., Superdrugs II Inc. and S&A Superdrugs II Inc. Beginning in approximately May 2015 and continuing through June 2018, Mohammed executed a scheme in which she and others submitted fraudulent claims to Medicare Part D plans and Medicaid for reimbursement for prescription drugs that were not dispensed, prescribed as claimed, or medically necessary. The allegedly fraudulent claims included claims for prescription drugs for the treatment of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). From approximately May 2015 through January 2018, Mohammed’s pharmacies received approximately $7.9 million in reimbursements from Medicare and Medicaid. The indictment further alleges that Mohammed used the proceeds of the scheme, among other things, to purchase luxury items such as a Porsche and jewelry. Mohammed was previously arrested on a complaint in July 2018.
“According to the allegations in the indictment announced today, Aleah Mohammed defrauded the taxpayer-funded Medicare and Medicaid programs by submitting millions of dollars of phony reimbursement claims, and then used the stolen money to purchase luxury items such as cars and jewelry,” said Assistant Attorney General Benczkowski. “This case is another example of the outstanding work of the Department’s Medicare Fraud Strike Forces, which are focused on safeguarding federally funded health care programs and vigorously prosecuting those who seek to defraud them.”
“As alleged in the indictment, Mohammed used her pharmacies to steal from publicly funded health care programs and fund her lavish lifestyle,” said U.S. Attorney Donoghue. “This Office and our law enforcement partners are committed to holding accountable fraudsters who seek to enrich themselves at the expense of vital taxpayer-funded programs upon which so many Americans rely.”
“These investigations matter because the subjects are stealing money each and every one of us pays in taxes to fund these programs,” said FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney. “What adds insult to injury, defrauding the government and stealing money is rarely about anything more than spending money on frivolous things like pricy jewelry and fast cars. Our ultimate goal is to stop these fraudsters from wasting the millions they steal so it can go to the patients and taxpayers who depend on it.”
“Ms. Mohammed’s alleged fraud scheme was motivated by nothing more than personal greed,” stated HHS-OIG Special Agent-in-Charge Lampert. “This indictment should serve as a warning to any health care provider daring to use Medicare and Medicaid as a vehicle to steal money. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to aggressively pursue those who seek to undermine taxpayer-funded health care programs intended for our most vulnerable Americans.”
The charges in the indictment are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The FBI and HHS-OIG investigated the case, which was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, under the supervision by the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York. Trial Attorney Andrew Estes of the Fraud Section is in charge of the prosecution.
The Criminal Division’s Fraud Section leads the Medicare Fraud Strike Force. Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in 12 cities across the country, has charged nearly 4,000 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $14 billion.