Former Pharmacy Owner Pleads Guilty to Fraudulently Dispensing Opioids
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A former pharmacy owner pleaded guilty today to fraudulently filling and dispensing thousands of prescription medications, including opioids, outside the usual course of professional practice.
According to court documents, Latif Mohamed Chowdhury, aka Gulam Latif Chaudhury, 28, operated, managed, directed, and controlled two now-defunct pharmacies known as Alexandria Care Pharmacy LLC (ACP-1) and Alexandria Care Pharmacy Store #2 LLC (ACP-2). Chowdhury has never been qualified to serve as a licensed pharmacist and has no medical qualifications. Nonetheless, between August 2015 and February 2016, Chowdhury fraudulently operated ACP-1 and ACP-2 by personally filling and dispensing thousands of dosage units of medications, including opioids, without a licensed pharmacist on-site. Chowdhury used the identities of licensed pharmacists, without their permission, to carry out his scheme.
Chowdhury admitted to fraudulently billing health insurance benefit programs, including Medicare and Medicaid, for refills of prescription medications that were not delivered to customers even though his pharmacies received payment for these prescriptions. Chowdhury also submitted fraudulent health insurance claims in the names of pharmacy customers for medications that were not authorized by any physician, and were not dispensed to any of the customers, in order to enrich himself through illicit profits generated by ACP-1 and ACP-2.
Furthermore, on several occasions, Chowdhury dispensed Schedule II controlled substances in the names of minors, including children as young as 7 and 8-years-old, outside the usual course of professional practice. During the execution of a search warrant, a loaded Colt .38-caliber firearm that belonged to Chowdhury was located in plain view on the pharmacy department shelves.
Chowdhury pleaded guilty to unlawful distribution of Schedule II controlled substances outside the usual course of professional practice, and also agreed to forfeit $500,000 as proceeds of his illegal conduct. He faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison when sentenced on September 27. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Charles Dayoub, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Criminal Division, FBI Washington Field Office, Jesse R. Fong, Special Agent in Charge for the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Washington Field Division, Maureen Dixon, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), and Colonel Gary T. Settle, Superintendent of Virginia State Police, made the announcement after the plea was accepted by U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Raj Parekh and Monika Moore are prosecuting the case.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information is located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:19-cr-203.