New York Pharmacist Pleads Guilty To Medicare And Medicaid Fraud And Tax Fraud
Defendant Admitted to Causing $2.7 Million in Losses to Government Health Care Programs and Under-Reporting His Income on Tax Returns
Earlier today, Andrew Barrett, a New York pharmacist and pharmacy owner, pleaded guilty to health care fraud and filing false tax returns. 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 approximately $2.7 million for prescription medications that he never dispensed to patients. Barrett also siphoned off over $2.6 million for personal expenses from the Bronx and Rockland pharmacy accounts while falsely claiming those funds as business expenses on his tax returns. When sentenced, Barrett faces up to ten years in prison, as well as restitution, criminal forfeiture, and a fine.
The guilty plea was announced by Robert L. Capers, 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 J. Lampert, Special Agent-in-Charge, Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, New York Office (HHS-OIG); and Shantelle P. Kitchen, Special Agent-in-Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, New York (IRS-CI).
In announcing the guilty plea, Mr. Capers extended his grateful appreciation to the agencies that led the government’s investigation and thanked the New York Office of the Medicaid Inspector General for its cooperation and assistance in the case.
According to the court filings and facts presented at the guilty plea hearing, from his Queens pharmacy, Barrett falsely billed government health care programs approximately $2.7 million for drug products, including a substantial number of HIV-AIDs medications which he never dispensed to patients. Barrett’s scheme involved billing for refills of costly medications even although patients never requested or received them, and doctors had not authorized the refills to be dispensed. Barrett also wrote checks for over $2.6 million to himself to pay for his personal expenses from the Bronx and Rockland pharmacy accounts while falsely claiming those funds as business expenses on his personal and corporate tax returns.
Today’s plea took place before United States Magistrate Judge Viktor V. Pohorelsky.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Business and Securities Fraud Section. Assistant United States Attorneys William P. Campos and Erin E. Argo are in charge of the prosecution. Assistant United States Attorney Karin Orenstein of the Office’s Civil Division is responsible for the forfeiture of assets.
The charges were brought in connection with the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. The task force was established to wage an aggressive, coordinated, and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, and state and local partners, it is the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory, and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state, and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets; and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions, and other organizations. Since fiscal year 2009, the Justice Department has filed over 18,000 financial fraud cases against more than 25,000 defendants. For more information on the task force, please visit www.StopFraud.gov.
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 15-CR-103