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New York pharmacist sentenced for tax, health care fraud

A 57-year-old New York pharmacist is facing over three-and-a-half years in prison for tax and health care fraud. The New City man ran pharmacies in the Bronx, Queens and Rockland. Additionally, he was ordered to pay $2.7 million in restitution to the Medicaid and Medicare programs, $736,000 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service and to forfeit $2.7 million in proceeds from the $5 million in prescriptions he claimed to have filled throughout 2011 and 2012, but didn’t.

He reportedly used $4 million of that fraudulently obtained funds to purchase drugs for his pharmacies. The pharmacist pleaded guilty back in May to both health care fraud and filing false tax returns.

According to prosecutors, he falsely claimed millions of dollars in funds that he obtained under false pretenses as personal and business expenses on his corporate and personal tax returns. This resulted in an underpayment of over $736,000.

The man’s activities attracted the attention of multiple federal and state agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Internal Revenue Service and the New York Office of the Medicaid Inspector General.

After the indictment of the pharmacist was announced earlier this year, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch weighed in. She said, “Instead of using his pharmacist license to provide valid relief to those in need, [he] used it as a license to steal from publicly-funded health care programs and then lied about it on his tax returns.”

Most tax fraud cases don’t involve as much money as this one and don’t involve alleged health care fraud. However, the federal government takes fraud very seriously. A conviction for fraud can be costly, both in money and time behind bars. It’s essential to have experienced legal guidance if you’re facing such charges.

Source: New City Patch, “Pharmacist Sentenced For $5 Million Health And Tax Fraud,” Lanning Taliaferro, Sep. 13, 2016

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