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October 4, 10

NEWS / North Jersey Pharmacist Sentenced to State Prison for Bilking the Medicaid Program

TRENTON Attorney General Paula T. Dow and Criminal Justice Director Stephen J. Taylor announced that a North Jersey pharmacist was sentenced today for billing the Medicaid Program for prescriptions that were never dispensed.

According to Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Riza Dagli, Kamal Moorjani, 40, of Lyndhurst, a pharmacist at the Amethyst Pharmacy in Jersey City, was sentenced to three years in state prison by Superior Court Judge Kevin G. Callahan in Hudson County. Moorjani was ordered to pay $1,289 in restitution to the Medicaid Program and $10,000 to the Jersey City Police Department. Moorjani also agreed to pay a $30,000 civil penalty to Medicaid and forfeit $15,000 of the assets seized. Moorjaniís sentence was based on his June 25 guilty plea to an accusation which charged him with second-degree health care claims fraud. As a result of the plea agreement, Moorjaniís pharmaceutical license was suspended in June for a period of three years.

In pleading guilty, Moorjani admitted that between Jan. 1, 2009 and Jan. 27, 2010, he submitted claims to the Medicaid program for prescription drugs allegedly dispensed to Medicaid beneficiaries, even though the prescription drugs were never dispensed. The claims were subsequently paid out by the Medicaid program.

At the time of Moorjaniís arrest in January 2010, the Division of Criminal Justice seized assets and property from Moorjani including the pharmacy property at 550 Newark Avenue, his residence in Lyndhurst, and several bank accounts.

Todayís sentence stemmed from Operation MedScam, an ongoing investigation by the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutorís Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the Jersey City Police Departmentís Special Investigation Unit. Since October, more than 32 people, including doctors and pharmacists, have been arrested in the joint investigation, which uncovered a criminal narcotics network based in Hudson County that distributed black market prescription pain pills such as OxyContin and Percocet. The network was obtaining fraudulent narcotics prescriptions and filling them at various pharmacies. At the same time, Medicaid was being billed for phony doctor visits and prescription medicines that were never dispensed.

The network allegedly distributed the prescription pain pills throughout Hudson County and other parts of the state, including Bergen, Ocean, Morris and Monmouth counties. A single 30 milligram OxyContin pill, known as a "blue," typically sells for $10 to $20 on the street, while a 10 milligram Percocet pill sells for $5 to $8.

Detective Kevin Gannon, Sgt. Frederick Weidman and Deputy Attorneys General Debra Conrad and Cynthia Vazquez were assigned to the investigation. Conrad represented the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor at the sentencing.

They were assisted by Medicaid Fraud Control Unit Analyst Mitzi Gross and Anne Howell, RN., as well as the following members of the Jersey City Police Departmentís Special Investigation Unit under the supervision of Chief Thomas Comey: Capt. Gary Lallo, Sgt. Anthony Musante, Sgt. Wally Wolf, Detective Wael Shahid, Detective Jeff Guilfoyle, Detective Vincent Disbrow, Detective Hector Marrero, Police Officer Alex Torres, Police Officer Chris Dolan, and Police Officer Erik Infantes. Deputy Attorney General Carol Stanton Meier, Detective Sgt. Scott Naismyth and Analyst Bethany Schussler are handling the asset forfeiture action for the Division of Criminal Justice.




AnnaMaria Realbuto
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