Former Pharmacy Owner Sentenced for Prescription Medication Fraud
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A former pharmacy owner was sentenced today to four years in prison for fraudulently filling and dispensing thousands of prescription medications, including opioids, outside the usual course of professional practice.
“Chowdhury blithely violated his position of trust,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “Chowdhury’s warped business philosophy led him to illegally distribute a significant number of prescription medications, including dangerous, addictive opioids. Moreover, his reckless actions add to the financial cost of health care as he fraudulently billed at least $500,000 to health insurance programs for prescriptions that were never filled.”
According to court documents, Latif Mohamed Chowdhury, aka Gulam Latif Chaudhury, 29, operated 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 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 used his trusted position to enrich himself at the expense of others," said Timothy M. Dunham, Special Agent in Charge, Criminal Division, FBI Washington Field Office. “Today's sentencing makes it clear that the illegal distribution of opioids will not be tolerated. The FBI will work closely with our partners to continue to investigate allegations of healthcare fraud.”
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.
“We are committed to protecting the public and the people of Virginia,” said Jesse R. Fong, Special Agent in Charge for the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Washington Field Division. “We will continue to track down and bring to justice criminals who are fueling the opiate crisis at every level including pill writers, pill fillers, and drug dealers in the area.”
In addition, 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.
G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Timothy M. Dunham, Special Agent in Charge, Criminal Division, FBI Washington Field Office, Maureen Dixon, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), Jesse R. Fong, Special Agent in Charge for the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Washington Field Division, and Colonel Gary T. Settle, Superintendent of Virginia State Police, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Raj Parekh and Monika Moore prosecuted 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 are 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.