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For Immediate Release:  
For Further Information Contact:
July 22, 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


Rachel Sacharow


Division of Criminal Justice - Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Charges Essex County Pharmacy and Employees with $55,000 Medicaid Fraud

TRENTON - Criminal Justice Director Vaughn L. McKoy announced that the Division of Criminal Justice - Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor has obtained a State Grand Jury indictment charging an Essex County Pharmacy and two of its employees with Medicaid Fraud and Health Care Claims Fraud for allegedly bilking the Medicaid Program out of more than $55,000.

According to Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Greta Gooden-Brown, Ojah Pharmacy, located at 42-44 Sussex Ave., East Orange, Essex County; it’s manager, Verona Boodram, 28, La France Avenue, Bloomfield, Essex County; and the pharmacy technician, Alpha Bangoura, 31, Mechanic Street, Orange, Essex County, were charged with Health Care Claims Fraud (2nd degree) and two counts of Medicaid Fraud (3rd degree). If convicted of all charges, each defendant faces up to 16 years in state prison and a fine of up to $180,000. Ojah Pharmacy also faces permanent exclusion from being a provider in any federal or state health care program. The defendants will be ordered to appear in Essex County Superior Court for a bail and arraignment hearing on a date yet to be set by the Court.

The indictment alleges that between June 1, 2002 and Oct. 28, 2004, Verona Boodram, Bangoura, and the pharmacy billed Medicaid more than $55,000 worth of prescription medications that were not dispensed. An investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice - Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor determined that Bangoura and Boodram would entice Medicaid recipients to bring their prescriptions to Ojah Pharmacy by offering $10 worth of store merchandise for each prescription and an additional $10 to $100 per prescription, depending on the value of the medication. The investigation further revealed that neither Boodram nor Bangoura was a licensed practitioner.

State Investigators Melissa Calkin and Jon Powers, Auditor Cleair Budhu, and Deputy Attorney General Riza Dagli were assigned to the investigation into this case. DAG Dagli represented the Division of Criminal Justice - Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor before the State Grand Jury.

The indictment, which was handed up to Mercer County Superior Court Judge Maria M. Sypek on July 14, is merely an accusation. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.


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