Alec Brook-Krasny, a former Brooklyn assemblyman known for his public crusade against opioid addiction, has been indicted over allegations that he participated in a scheme to defraud Medicaid and Medicare, involving the sale of illicit prescriptions.
According to investigators, Brook-Krasny and other defendants persuaded patients to undergo needless testing in exchange for oxycodone prescriptions. The pills prescribed, which allegedly add up to 6.3 million, would later be resold in the black market. Medicare and Medicaid billings in connection with the alleged scheme amount to $24 million.
Russian-born Brook-Krasny is not the only defendant in the case, as 12 other people have also been indicted. After over 15 years as an assemblyman, in 2015, he began working as a chief operating officer at Quality Lab Services.
Brook-Krasny is being accused of serious crimes, including billing New York Medicaid and Medicare for unnecessary tests and falsifying lab results. Prosecutors have obtained wiretapping evidence of the later.
The wide-ranging scheme involved falsifying alcohol test results, so that patients could be prescribed opioid painkillers. In reality, there is great risk associated with mixing opioids and alcohol, therefore, the prescriptions in such cases were illicit.
During his last terms as an assemblyman, Brook-Krasny had introduced two initiatives to fuel resources to combat opioids and heroin addiction. The proposed measures, which sought to create detox facilities and raise awareness about the problem, were not met with success at the time.
The defendants have been charged on 466 counts of varying gravity. Brook-Krasny, in particular, might be spending up to 15 years in prison if found guilty.
The former politician, who, reportedly, kept using his Assembly member license plates long after leaving his post, allegedly worked in close connection with another defendant, Dr. Lazar Feygin, who run two separate clinics. Feygin used the money obtained through the alleged scheme to maintain a luxurious lifestyle and purchase real estate.
The investigation that uncovered the alleged New York Medicaid fraud was known as “Operation Avalanche.” The indictments are the result of the combined efforts of the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office, the state Health Department’s Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement, and the city’s Department of Investigation (DOI), among others.
“The defendants are crooks who stole millions from New York City’s cash-strapped healthcare system They used pain pills instead of revolvers, but they robbed the city all the same,” DOI Commissioner Mark Peters has commented.