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For Immediate Release:  
For Further Information Contact:
December 28, 2005

Office of The Attorney General
- Peter C. Harvey, Attorney General
Division of Criminal Justice
- Vaughn L. McKoy, Director
Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor
- Greta Gooden Brown, Insurance Fraud Prosecutor

 

John R. Hagerty
609-984-1936

 

Monmouth County Pharmacist Sentenced to 4 Years in Prison for Orchestrating $290,000 Newark-Based Medicaid Fraud
Medicaid Fraud Scam Involved Former Bergen County Dr.
and Owner of Defunct Newark Pharmacy...
Co-Defendants Previously Sentenced to Jail and Ordered to Repay Medicaid $236,000...

TRENTON - Attorney General Peter C. Harvey announced that a Monmouth County pharmacist is the third of four defendants to be sentenced to state prison for participating in a prescription fraud scheme which defrauded the Medicaid Program out of more than $290,000 in insurance payments for medications that were never dispensed to patients. The Medicaid Program, funded by the state and federal governments, provides health care services and prescription drugs to persons who may not otherwise be able to afford medical services.

Attorney General Harvey noted that in 2005, the Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor continued as a national leader in insurance fraud prosecutions. The Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor, together with county prosecutor insurance fraud units funded by the OIFP, filed criminal insurance fraud charges against 204 defendants, with 169 defendants convicted on criminal charges. Twenty-one defendants were sentenced to a total of 97 years in jail in 2005. Court ordered fines, penalties, and restitution in criminal cases amounted to more than $90 million in 2005. Additionally, in 2005, the OIFP imposed over 1,142 civil sanctions seeking judgements totaling over $4.7 million.

According to Vaughn L. McKoy, Director, Division of Criminal Justice and Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Greta Gooden Brown, Milton Barasch, 75, Ivy Way, Aberdeen, Monmouth County, was sentenced by Essex County Superior Court Judge Michael Ravin to four years in state prison. Additionally, Baraschs’ pharmacist license was suspended for one year and he was removed from any participation in the Medicaid Program for eight years.

Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Brown noted that Barasch was charged with theft by deception, Medicaid Fraud, and Health Care Claims Fraud via a State Grand Jury indictment returned on Nov. 8, 2002. Barasch pleaded guilty to Health Care Claims Fraud on May 19, 2003 before Essex County Superior Court Judge Michael J. Nelson. In pleading guilty, Barasch admitted that S Brothers Pharmacy billed the Medicaid Program more than $293,815 for medications that were never dispensed to patients or for medications that were dispensed using stolen or fraudulent Medicaid identification numbers. In some cases, phony bills were submitted to the Medicaid Program for medications prescribed to Medicaid recipients who had died years before.

The indictment also charged several co-defendants with Medicaid fraud and Health Care Claims fraud for their participation in the Medicaid fraud scam. The indictments charged Shahid Khawaja, 47, Selkirk Street, New York City, the owner of the now defunct S Brothers Pharmacy formerly located at 687 Frelinghuysen Ave., Newark, with fraudulently billing the Medicaid Program $293,815. Khawaja pleaded guilty to money laundering and was sentenced on July 22 to five years in state prison and ordered to pay $235,984 in restitution. Following the prosecution by the Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor, federal authorities charged Khawaja with laundering more than $1.8 million in stolen monies obtained through various fraud schemes, including Medicaid Fraud.

Also charged were Dr. Axat Jani, 40, Fairlawn, Bergen County and Azam Khan, 40, West 54th St., New York City. Jani pled guilty before Judge Nelson on Jan. 7, 2003 and was subsequently sentenced to four years in state prison and ordered to pay a $10,000 criminal fine. On Aug. 9, 2002, Khan pleaded guilty before Essex County Superior Court Judge Joseph A. Falcone to a criminal Accusation which charged Health Care Claims Fraud. Khan is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 27, 2006.

The Medicaid Fraud investigation was conducted by the Division of Criminal Justice - Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor’s Medicaid Fraud Section which investigates and prosecutes civil and criminal Medicaid fraud cases. State Investigator Jon Powers and Deputy Attorney General Mark Ondris coordinated the investigation. Additional investigative assistance was provided by the Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services, Bureau of Integrity and the United States Attorney’s Office.

“Theft from the Medicaid Program is theft of tax dollars and theft from people who can least afford medical care and prescription drugs. When committed by licensed professionals, these crimes become all the more disturbing,” said Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Brown.

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