Pharmacy Owner Sentenced to 41 Months in Prison for 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 was sentenced today to 41 months in prison for his role in a scheme to pay bribes to health care professionals and evading taxes on $33.9 million in income, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.
Igor Fleyshmakher, 59, of Holmdel, New Jersey, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Michael A. Shipp to an information charging him with conspiring to violate the federal anti-kickback statute and tax evasion. Judge Shipp imposed the sentence today in Trenton federal court.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
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. Samuel “Sam” Khaimov was the other co-owner of Prime Aid Union City and the lead pharmacist of Prime Aid Bronx. Yana Shtindler was Khaimov’s wife and managing director of Prime Aid Union City. Ruben 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. Eduard “Eddy” Shtindler (Yana Shtindler’s brother) was a Prime Aid Union City employee.
Starting in 2010, to obtain a higher volume of prescriptions, Igor Fleyshmakher, Khaimov, Sevumyants, Alex Fleyshmakher, Eddy Shtindler, and other Prime Aid employees paid bribes to doctors and doctors’ employees to induce doctors’ offices 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.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Shipp sentenced Fleyshmakher to three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay $5.8 million in restitution and a $100,000 fine.
Khaimov, Yana Shtindler, and Sevumyants have been charged together by superseding indictment with health care fraud offenses and violations of the anti-kickback statute, and that matter is pending. In addition, the following individuals associated with the Prime Aid Pharmacies have pleaded guilty for their respective roles in the kickback and bribery scheme described above: Joel Grimshaw, a former Prime Aid sales representative, Yudelka “Vicky” Ayala, a doctor’s employee who received over $200,000 in bribes and kickbacks as part of the scheme, and Alex Fleyshmakher, who also pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the IRS, resulting in losses to the IRS of over $9,000,000. Eddy Shtindler also pleaded guilty for his role in a related kickback conspiracy. These four defendants have not yet been sentenced.
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; 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 D. Walsh, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing.
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, Yana Shtindler, and Sevumyants are merely accusations, and those three defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.