Illegal Medicaid bills topping $500,000 led to the arrest of Kwik-Aid Pharmacy owner Shaheen Begum of New City and Briarcliff Manor Prescription Plus Owner Syed Rahman, New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced Tuesday.
"According to the charges filed today in County Court, Rockland County, New City, New York Shaheen Begum, 57, of New City and Syed Rahman, 62, of Briarcliff Manor conspired to use Rahman’s pharmacy to bill the Medicaid program for prescriptions filled by Begum after Begum’s Kwik Aid Pharmacy was barred by the State from doing business with Medicaid," Schneiderman's office said in a statement.
Both Rahman and Begum are charged with Grand Larceny in the Second Degree and face up to five to 15 years in prison if convicted.
Charges have also been filed against Kwik Aid Pharamcy in New City, Haverstraw Pharmacy Inc. of Garnerville, and Prescription Plus Pharmacy, according to a statement.
"My office has zero tolerance for pharmacists who rip off the taxpayers by defrauding New York’s Medicaid program," Schneiderman said in the statement. "When unscrupulous operators scam the system, they are stealing from the taxpayers and threatening programs that are intended to provide vital health services to low income individuals and families. My office will use every tool at our disposal, including criminal prosecutions like this, to weed out waste, fraud and abuse in our State’s Medicaid program."
The charges stem from a January 2008 investigation, when Schneiderman said one of Begum's two pharmacies was found "guilty of professional misconduct" by "the State agency that regulates pharmacies in New York." The second pharmacy, he said, was never permitted to fill Medicare prescriptions.
The Attorney General's Office now alleges that Rahman submitted Medicaid claims on Begum's behalf.
"This scheme cost more than $500,000 in prescriptions that were improperly paid for by Medicaid," the statement reads.
Two years ago, "Attorney General Schneiderman launched a major initiative to bolster his office’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) and create a Taxpayer Protection Bureau to crack down on fraud," according to the statement. "At no cost to taxpayers, Schneiderman added dozens of additional prosecutors, investigators and auditors to the team charged with investigating, penalizing, and prosecuting individuals and companies responsible for improper or fraudulent Medicaid billing schemes."
Special Assistant Attorney General William McClarnon is prosecuting the case.
Note: Arrests do not indicate convictions.