Nadeem Iqbal, a 56-year-old pharmacist from Detroit, has been found guilty of Michigan Medicaid fraud and will serve four and a half years in prison after law enforcement seizes $1.4 million from his bank accounts.
The conviction and forfeiture are related to Iqbal´s participation in a large-scale scheme involving the illegal billing and sale of pain medication in the black market.
There are a total of 44 defendants in the $122 million fraud case involving opioids, notably Oxycontin. According to court documents, Iqbal alone fulfilled prescriptions for 222,000 doses of opioids and other controlled substances.
His fraudulent billings cost Medicaid $1.6 million.
When he was cornered by the authorities after a diligent investigation, Iqbal pleaded guilty to illegal prescription drug distribution, health care fraud, and money laundering. He is one of six Detroit-based physicians who could be sent to prison in connection with the scheme.
According to the US Attorney´s Office, while operating two different pharmacies in Detroit, Iqbal "knowingly filled controlled substance prescriptions for runners, who presented as many as 25 prescriptions at a time for patients... The runners only wanted the controlled substances, but did not care whether they received the non-controlled drugs for the purported patients."
To remain under the radar of regulators, Iqbal made an effort to fulfill 7 out of every 10 prescriptions for non-controlled substances.
The epidemic of prescription drug addiction in America has made Iqbal and his associates´ crimes all the more visible. "Pharmacists who participate in the diversion of prescription drugs to the street market are contributing to this epidemic, and we are focusing our enforcement efforts on stopping them," Acting U.S. Attorney Daniel Lemisch has commented.
The crackdown in the Detroit area is actually part of a nationwide sweep, in which 243 individuals were charged for defrauding Medicare and Medicaid of $712 million.
In Detroit alone, 14 providers were suspended in connection with their misconduct.
The 44 defendants indicted in the case were: pharmacists Krina Patel and office manager Sanjay Patel, pharmacist Jayshriben Gandhi and office manager Guarang Gandhi, pharmacist Ahab Elmadhoun, pharmacist Waleed Yaghmour, physician Adelfo Pamatmat, physician John Geralt, physician Malik Dababneh,, physician Paul Kelly, physician Ravi Iyer, physician Muhammad Ahmed, physician assistant Timothy Spencer, Wayne State Medical School graduate Javar Myatt-Jones, a.k.a. “Dr. Jones,” medical student Faraj Ghabag, home health agency owners Sardar Ashrafkhan and Deepak Kumar, Kumar´s assistant Mohammad Mian, home health agency owner John Stephen Check and co-owner David Vezzossi, marketers Frederick Till Jackson, Tiffany Walker, Sierra Walker, Toney Taylor, Jimmy Foster, James Blake, Troy Ivory, Jackie Renee Ivory, Eric Hester, Felicia Jackson, Ayesha McCray, and Jamall Gibson, couriers Alfornia Johnson, Phillip Burnett,, Ronnie Moses, Corey Williams, William Ashley Smith, Robert Scott Dials, Cherish Lewis, distributors Willie David Jackson, Lance Hatten, Josh Barnes, Nathan Reed, and electronic transfer nominee Garland Holman. A large portion of the defendants used to operate in Michigan, which is considered the center of this massive scheme, and Ohio.
Michigan residents who blow the whistle on Medicare or Medicaid fraud can earn whistleblower rewards. Call or submit the online form to check the eligibility of your information.