Two New York pharmacy owners who “exploited the Covid-19 emergency for their own financial gain” have pleaded guilty in an international scheme to submit fraudulent Medicare claims for cancer drugs. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Wednesday.
Arkady Haimov, 39, and Peter Haim, 42, both of Forest Hills, engagedn complex health care scheme involving more than a dozen New York pharmacies, according to the Justice Department. The two filed millions of dollars in fraudulent Medicare claims for expensive cancer drugs that were not prescribed or dispensed to patients. The drugs, Targretin gel made by Bausch and Panretin gel made by Concordia, were allegedly dispensed during periods when certain pharmacies were closed due to the pandemic.
“Chaim, Haimov and their co-conspirators took advantage of the Covid-19 emergency for their own financial gain by using the Covid-19-related ’emergency cancellation’ billing codes to submit additional fraudulent claims for Targretin Gel 1%,” the DOJ said in a news release.
The scheme began in New York but turned into a complex international endeavor as the two men attempted to launder more than $18 million in cash. Haim and Haimov created shell companies and fake pharmacy wholesale companies to create the illusion that they were running a real business.
In reality, they were sending funds from the bogus Medicare claims to the bogus companies. The funds were then sent to companies in China and distributed to individuals in Uzbekistan. At this point the two men received some of the cash, the DOJ said in the message, adding that tThe two also sent money from the fraudulent claims to their relatives through cashier’s checks and used the money themselves to buy properties.
Both men face up to 20 years in prison and their separate hearings are scheduled for May 2023.
A spokesman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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