Doctor’s Employee Admits Role in $24.8 Million Kickback Scheme
TRENTON, N.J. – The employee of a Jersey City, New Jersey, doctor today admitted her role in a multimillion-dollar conspiracy to solicit and receive kickbacks and bribes from individuals associated with a Union City, New Jersey pharmacy, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.
Yudelka “Vicky” Ayala, 42, of Jersey City, New Jersey, pleaded guilty by videoconference before U.S. District Judge Michael A. Shipp to an information charging her with conspiring to violate the federal anti-kickback statute.
The information alleges that Ayala conspired with six individuals associated with Prime Aid Pharmacy, three of whom were previously charged by superseding indictment: Samuel “Sam” Khaimov and Yana Shtindler, both of Glen Head, New York; and Ruben Sevumyants, of Marlboro, New Jersey. Ayala’s other alleged conspirators included Igor Fleyshmakher, of Holmdel, New Jersey, and Alex Fleyshmakher, of Morganville, New Jersey, who each previously pleaded guilty for their roles in the conspiracy; and Eduard “Eddy” Shtindler, of Paramus, New Jersey, who previously pleaded guilty in a related kickback conspiracy. Their respective sentencings are pending.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Ayala worked at a doctor’s office in Jersey City and developed a long-standing and illegal kickback relationship with several individuals associated with the Prime Aid Pharmacies – now closed – which operated as “specialty pharmacies” in Union City, New Jersey, and Bronx, New York. As “specialty pharmacies,” they processed expensive medications used to treat various conditions, including Hepatitis C, Crohn’s disease, and rheumatoid arthritis. Khaimov was a co-owner of Prime Aid Union City and the lead pharmacist of Prime Aid Bronx. Khaimov’s wife, Yana Shtindler, was Prime Aid Union City’s Administrator, and Sevumyants was Prime Aid Union City’s operations manager. Eddy Shtindler, Yana Shtindler’s brother, was a Prime Aid Union City employee. Alex Fleyshmakher worked at Prime Aid Union City and was an on-paper owner of Prime Aid Bronx. His father, Igor Fleyshmakher, was the other co-owner of Prime Aid Union City.
In order to obtain a higher volume of prescriptions from the doctor’s office where Ayala worked, Khaimov, Yana Shtindler, Igor Fleyshmakher, Alex Fleyshmakher, Sevumyants, Eddy Shtindler, and other Prime Aid employees paid Ayala kickbacks and bribes to induce her to steer prescriptions to Prime Aid Union City. From 2008 to August 2017, these bribes included expensive meals, designer bags, and payments by cash, check, and wire transfers. In total, Ayala accepted bribes and kickbacks totaling at least $219,060. The prescriptions that were steered to Prime Aid Union City as part of the scheme resulted in Medicare and Medicaid payments to the pharmacy of approximately $24.8 million.
The conspiracy to which Ayala pleaded guilty carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 20, 2021.
Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr. in Newark; special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael Montanez in Newark; special agents of the Department of Health and Human Services-Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Scott J. Lampert; and the N.J. Office of the State Comptroller, under the direction of Acting Comptroller Kevin Walsh, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua L. Haber of the Health Care Fraud Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark.
The charges and allegations contained in the information pertaining to Khaimov, Yana Shtindler, and Sevumyants are merely accusations, and those three defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.