Two Pharmacy Owners Plead Guilty in COVID-19 Money Laundering and Health Care Fraud Case
Two New York men pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering for using New York-area pharmacies to submit false and fraudulent claims to Medicare and then laundering the criminal proceeds.
Arkadiy Khaimov, 39, of Forest Hills, pleaded guilty today to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. Peter Khaim, 42, also of Forest Hills, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering on Nov. 3.
According to court documents, Khaim and Khaimov engaged in a complex money laundering conspiracy to launder the proceeds of a fraudulent health care scheme involving over a dozen New York-area pharmacies that they and their co-conspirators owned and controlled. Specifically, Khaim and Khaimov used the New York pharmacies to submit millions of dollars in fraudulent claims to Medicare, including during the COVID-19 pandemic. These fraudulent claims included claims for expensive cancer medications Targretin Gel 1% and Panretin Gel 0.1% that were not prescribed by physicians or dispensed to patients, and that were purportedly dispensed during periods when certain pharmacies were closed. Khaim, Khaimov, and their co-conspirators exploited the COVID-19 emergency for their own financial gain by using COVID-19-related “emergency override” billing codes to submit additional fraudulent claims for Targretin Gel 1%.
To conceal over $18 million of their criminal proceeds, Khaim, Khaimov, and their co-conspirators funneled money through several shell companies, including sham pharmacy wholesale companies designed to look like legitimate wholesalers. Khaim and Khaimov typically sent the funds from the pharmacy bank accounts they controlled to the sham wholesale companies. The funds were then typically sent to companies in China for distribution to individuals in Uzbekistan and the defendants received some of these funds in cash. At other times, the fraudulent proceeds were sent from the sham wholesale companies to Khaim, Khaimov, their relatives, or their designees, in the form of certified cashier’s checks and cash. Khaim and Khaimov used the proceeds of the scheme to purchase real estate and other luxury items.
Khaimov is scheduled to be sentenced on May 3, 2023. Khaim is scheduled to be sentenced on May 10, 2023. They each face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Breon Peace for the Eastern District of New York; Assistant Director in Charge Michael J. Driscoll of the FBI New York Field Office; Acting Special Agent in Charge Susan Frisco of the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG); Special Agent in Charge Thomas M. Fattorusso of the IRS Criminal Investigation’s (IRS-CI) New York Field Office; and Special Agent in Charge Patricia Tarasca of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Office of Inspector General (FDIC-OIG) made the announcement.
The HHS-OIG, FBI, IRS-CI, and FDIC-OIG are investigating the case.
Acting Principal Assistant Deputy Chief Jacob Foster of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Trial Attorney Andrew Estes of the Fraud Section’s Brooklyn Strike Force are prosecuting the case. Former Fraud Section Trial Attorney Patrick Mott previously worked on the investigation.
The Fraud Section leads the Criminal Division’s efforts to combat health care fraud through the Health Care Fraud Strike Force Program. Since March 2007, this program, comprised of 15 strike forces operating in 24 federal districts, has charged more than 4,200 defendants who collectively have billed the Medicare program for more than $19 billion. In addition, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services, are taking steps to hold providers accountable for their involvement in health care fraud schemes. More information can be found at https://www.justice.gov/criminal-fraud/health-care-fraud-unit.