A.G. Schneiderman Announces Over $335 Million In Medicaid Fraud Recoveries For Taxpayers In 2012 - Long Island

Top Cases On Long Island Include Black Market Prescription Drug Schemes And Protection Of Patients’ Rights

Banner Year Follows Schneiderman Initiative To Bolster Fraud Fighting Efforts On Behalf Of Taxpayers

Schneiderman: We Will Continue To Root Out Fraud And Abuse Wherever They Exist To Protect Taxpayers

 

LONG ISLAND – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced that his office recovered over $335 million in 2012 that had been improperly claimed through fraud or abuse in the Medicaid system. This was the second highest annual recovery total ever by the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU), the highest recovery in seven years.

“Part of my first major initiativewhen I took office was to bolster the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit with additional prosecutors, investigators, and auditors, in order to even more aggressively root out fraud and return money illegally stolen from New York taxpayers and their government,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “That initiative has paid off with record recoveries for taxpayers this year, including on Long Island. My office’s Medicaid Fraud team will keep working hard to root out fraud wherever it exists, and protect the integrity of the Medicaid program for those who truly need it.”

In addition to several actions to protect vulnerable patients from abuse and neglect, some of Attorney General Schneiderman’s top cases on Long Island were:

  • Through an investigation code-named “Operation Black Market Meds,” shut down a massive scheme to distribute black market prescription HIV drugs through MOMS Pharmacy and bill the Medicaid Program for over $155 million;
  • Following a joint investigation of allegations made by a Long Island whistleblower, resolved charges of Medicaid fraud in drug and alcohol treatment services against New York Downtown Hospital with a $13.4 million settlement;
  • Arrested a Suffolk County nurse’s aide at Cedar Lodge Nursing Center who stole thousands of dollars worth of jewelry from five elderly residents.

MFCU shut down schemes to illegally obtain prescription drugs through Medicaid and distribute them on the street for profit. The head of one prescription drug ring in the Bronx and another on Staten Island received prison sentences. MFCU also targeted providers that billed for unnecessary services or unnecessary visits to perform services that could have been rendered in a single visit; providers that referred patients to unlicensed facilities in exchange for kickbacks; unlicensed healthcare workers; and black market drug sellers that diverted prescription medications of unknown origin, re-packaging and re-selling them to pharmacies.

And in 2012, MFCU continued to vigilantly pursue major pharmaceutical manufacturers that engaged in unethical marketing practices. Abbott Laboratories, Boehringer-Ingelheim, Dava Pharmaceuticals, Inc., GlaxoSmithKline, K-V Pharmaceutical Company, McKesson Corporation, and Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp, among others, paid over $250 million to settle cases where they marketed their drugs to physicians for treating conditions that the Food and Drug Administration had not approved or for marketing and illegal pricing practices.  Some of those companies took criminal pleas in federal court for this conduct.

“The Medicaid Fraud Control Unit does an outstanding job, not only protecting taxpayers, but protecting patients from fraudulent practices that endangered their safety,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “I know this unit will continue to be vigilant in the coming year and send the message that fraud and abuse that endangers patients and rips off taxpayers will not be tolerated in our state.”

Special Assistant Attorney General Jane Zwirn-Turkin is the supervisor of the MFCU Long Island office.

The Medicaid Fraud Control Unit operates under the supervision of Special Deputy Attorney General Monica Hickey-Martin within the Criminal Justice Division led by Executive Deputy Attorney General Kelly Donovan.

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