Owner of Queens Pharmacies Charged in Scheme to Defraud Medicare and Medicaid
Defendant’s Pharmacies Received Reimbursements for Prescription Drugs Not Prescribed or Dispensed
Aleah Mohammed, the owner of four pharmacies in Queens, New York, will be arraigned 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 United States Magistrate Judge Steven L. Tiscione at 11:00 a.m.
Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; Brian A. Benczkowski, Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI); and Scott J. Lampert, Special Agent-in-Charge, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, Office of Investigations, New York Region (HHS-OIG), announced the indictment.
“As alleged in the indictment, Mohammed used her pharmacies to steal from publicly funded health care programs and fund her lavish lifestyle,” stated United States 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.”
“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,” stated 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.”
“These investigations matter because the subjects are stealing money each and every one of us pays in taxes to fund these programs,” stated 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.”
As alleged in the indictment, Aleah Mohammed, also known as “Aleah Haniff,” 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 fraudulent claims included claims for prescription drugs for the treatment of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Through this scheme, 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 to purchase, among other things, luxury items including a Porsche and jewelry.
The charges in the indictment are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
If convicted of health care fraud, Mohammed faces a maximum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment.
The FBI and HHS-OIG investigated the case, which was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force under the supervision by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York and the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section. Trial Attorney Andrew Estes of the Fraud Section is in charge of the prosecution.
ALEAH MOHAMMED (also known as “Aleah Haniff”)
Residence: Queens, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 18-CR-509 (ENV)