Pharmacist Charged in a Scheme to Bill Insurance for Medications Not Dispensed
DETROIT - A Dearborn Heights pharmacist was arrested today for committing health care fraud.
United States Attorney Dawn N. Ison was joined in this announcement by the FBI’s Acting Special Agent-In-Charge, Josh P. Hauxhurst and HHS-OIG Special Agent-in-Charge Mario Pinto.
Zeinab Makki, 59, was charged with a criminal complaint, unsealed today, in the Eastern District of Michigan with one count of health care fraud. She is scheduled to make an initial appearance today before a United States Magistrate Judge.
According to the criminal complaint, Zeinab Makki submitted or caused to be submitted at least $10.6 million in claims to Medicare and Medicaid for pharmaceuticals that were not actually dispensed. Makki submitted these claims while working as the pharmacist-in-charge at two Inkster pharmacies, New Millennium Drugs and Western Wayne Pharmacy.
“Taxpayers fund Medicare and Medicaid systems to provide critical resources for senior citizens and other beneficiaries,” said U.S. Attorney Dawn Ison. “We hope that today’s charge reflects my office’s commitment to holding medical providers accountable who engage in such misconduct and exploit these programs for personal benefit.”
“Makki allegedly engaged in a health care fraud scheme that stole millions of dollars over several years from a system designed to provide health care to those in need. The FBI is committed to working with our partners to stop these illegal acts and hold accountable those who commit them,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Josh Hauxhurst of the FBI’s Detroit Division.
“HHS-OIG is committed to investigating allegations of fraud in our Federal health care programs,” said Special Agent in Charge Mario M. Pinto. “We will continue to work together with our law enforcement partners to ensure that those engaged in this type of fraud are held accountable.”
A criminal complaint is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. Trial cannot be held on felony charges in a complaint. When the investigation is completed, determinations will be made whether to seek a felony indictment.
If convicted of a health care fraud charge, the defendant faces a maximum sentence of imprisonment of ten years, and a maximum fine of $250,000. If convicted of the money laundering charges, the defendants face up to twenty years’ imprisonment. Upon conviction, the court would be required to impose both forfeiture and restitution judgments.
The case was investigated by Special Agents of the HHS and FBI, with cooperation and assistance from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services - Office of Inspector General.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Philip A. Ross.