Pharmacy Owner Admits Role In Multimillion-Dollar Illegal Kickback Scheme And Evading Taxes On Over $33 Million Of Income
TRENTON, N.J. – The former co-owner of a Union City, New Jersey, pharmacy today admitted his role in a scheme to pay bribes to health care professionals and evading taxes on $33.9 million in income, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
Igor Fleyshmakher, 58, of Holmdel, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Michael A. Shipp in Trenton federal court to an information charging him with conspiring to violate the federal anti-kickback statute and tax evasion.
The information alleges that he conspired to violate the anti-kickback statute with seven other individuals, including the following individuals who have been previously charged by superseding indictment or information: Samuel “Sam” Khaimov of Glen Head, New York; Ruben Sevumyants of Marlboro, New Jersey; Alex Fleyshmakher of Morganville, New Jersey; and Eduard “Eddy” Shtindler of Paramus, New Jersey. Shtindler has previously pleaded guilty for his role in a related kickback conspiracy and is pending sentencing.
“Kickback schemes like this not only illegally enrich defendants like Fleyshmakher, they take needed resources from our health care system,” U.S. Attorney Carpenito said. “And after stealing millions of dollars in this way, the defendant stole again, by failing to report this income or pay taxes on it. His guilty plea today will make sure he is held to account for his crimes.”
“This fraudster was part of a kickback scheme that not only tilted the scales toward Prime Aid Pharmacies, but diverted precious federal dollars so he could enrich himself while ripping off the government,” FBI-Newark Special Agent in Charge Gregory W. Ehrie said. “If you are an investor or medical professional participating in a fraud scheme for an ill-gotten gain, you should ask yourself if it's worth the price you will pay. The FBI is searching for schemes like this and if you participate, you will be caught.”
“Bribing doctors to line your own pockets and using secret accounts to evade taxes are both very serious offenses motivated by one thing: greed,” John R. Tafur, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Newark Field Office, said. “Today’s guilty plea should send a strong deterrent message to anyone else thinking about participating in this type of illegal activity. If you decide to roll the dice, IRS Criminal Investigation along with our law enforcement partners will find you.”
“Fleyshmakher, with his previously indicted co-conspirators, bribed doctors to illegally increase profits and enrich themselves,” Scott J. Lampert, Special Agent in Charge for the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said. “Working with our state and federal law enforcement partners, we will continue to hold accountable anyone who attempts to defraud government healthcare insurance programs.”
According to documents filed in this case:
The Prime Aid Pharmacies – now closed – operated as “specialty pharmacies” out of locations in Union City, New Jersey, and Bronx, New York. They processed expensive medications used to treat various conditions, including Hepatitis C, Crohn’s disease, and rheumatoid arthritis. Igor Fleyshmakher was a co-owner of Prime Aid Union City. Khaimov was the other co-owner of Prime Aid Union City and the lead pharmacist of Prime Aid Bronx. Sevumyants was Prime Aid Union City’s operations manager, and Alex Fleyshmakher worked at Prime Aid Union City and was an owner of Prime Aid Bronx. Shtindler was a Prime Aid Union City employee.
Staring in 2010, in order to obtain a higher volume of prescriptions, Igor Fleyshmakher, Khaimov, Sevumyants, Alex Fleyshmakher, Shtindler, and other Prime Aid employees paid bribes to doctors and doctors’ employees to induce doctors’ office to steer prescriptions to the Prime Aid Pharmacies. The bribes included expensive meals, designer bags, and payments by cash, check, and wire transfers. The bribes and kickbacks were paid to, among others, doctors and doctors’ employees in New Jersey and New York.
As part of his plea agreement, Igor Fleyshmakher agreed that the improper benefit conferred as part of the conspiracy to violate the federal anti-kickback statute was between $3.5 million and $9.5 million.
In addition, between 2012 and 2014, Igor Fleyshmakher diverted a substantial amount of Prime Aid Union City income into a secret bank account that he opened and controlled. He concealed the account from the pharmacy’s tax preparers and did not report any of the funds he deposited into it on his personal income tax returns. In total, he diverted $33.9 million of income into the secret account, all of which he failed to report to the IRS. As a co-owner of the pharmacy, his conduct resulted in a $5.8 million tax loss to the IRS on his share of that income for tax years 2012 through 2014.
The conspiracy and tax evasion charges to which Igor Fleyshmakher pleaded guilty each carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Sentencing is scheduled for June 22, 2020.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Gregory W. Ehrie in Newark; special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge John R. Tafur; 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 Comptroller Kevin Walsh, with the ongoing 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 against and allegations in the information pertaining to Khaimov, Sevumyants, and Alex Fleyshmakher are merely accusations, and those three defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Defense counsel: Eric M. Creizman Esq. and Melisa Madrigal Esq., New York