Los Angeles is arguably the most famous city on the planet. Known for being the home of countless television and film stars, the world-renowned California city has made its way into United States Department of Justice headlines this week. As reported by the DoJ yesterday, L.A. is also the home of a couple of health care fraudsters who have just been brought to justice.
The two pharmacy owners, who are based in Sherman Oaks, have been found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. Following an 11-day trial, both 51 year-old, Aleksandr Suris and 44 year-old, Maxim Sverdlov will face sentencing for their participation in a $35 million health care fraud and money laundering scheme.
Suris and Sverdlov will be sentenced on November 18, 2019.
The guilty verdict came as a result of evidence that showed Suris and Sverdlov billed Medicare for medications that were never provided and then laundered the proceeds of the fraud. In addition, Suris was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and six additional counts of health care fraud.
“According to the evidence presented at trial, from 2012 to 2015, Suris and Sverdlov fraudulently billed Medicare and CIGNA for prescription medications that were not actually dispensed to beneficiaries by the pharmacy they owned, Royal Care Pharmacy (Royal Care),” says the report, “In order to hide the fraud, Suris and Sverdlov obtained fake invoices from a co-conspirator to make it appear as if Royal Care had purchased the medicines it had billed Medicare for when it had not.”
Additional evidence also showed that the duo used their fake invoices to launder the proceeds of their fraudulent activity through the co-conspirator. However, to be completely fair to the L.A. pair, they’re not the only pharmacy owners who were found guilty of health care fraud this week.
Missouri-based Rehan A. Rana was sentenced to two years in prison.
Another DoJ report, released on Tuesday, found that Ellisville’s Rana pulled off his own health care fraud scheme between 2009 and 2012. The 46 year-old will face three years of supervised release following his 24 month prison sentence. The owner of St. Louis Hills Pharmacy has also been ordered to pay a $100,000 fine, restitution in the amount of $751,787 to the Internal Revenue Service and $526,285 to the Medicare Program.
“Rana and others associated with Allegiance Medical Services, a medical testing laboratory, paid illegal kickbacks to doctors and marketers in exchange for blood and urine specimens that they sent or referred to the lab,” explains the DoJ report, “Allegiance Medical Services concealed the illegal kickbacks from Medicare and Medicaid, which would not paid for tests of specimens obtained by the payment of illegal kickbacks.”
Rana also filed false returns between 2013 and 2015. On his returns, he indicated that he had taxable distributions from his pharmacy of only $300,000 in 2013, $150,000 in 2014 and $217,500 in 2015. In actuality, he had received $1,993,600 in 2013, $1,328,924 in 2014 and $1,253,372 in 2015.
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