Articles Posted in Forfeiture

Photobucket BROOKLYN, NEW YORK – A New York therapist pled guilty to five counts of Medicare fraud for submitting false claims for physical therapy services that were either unnecessary or never performed. The Justice Department indicted Aleksandr Kharkover on charges with billing Medicare for $11.9 million in services from January 2005 to July 2010; received $7.3 million in Medicare reimbursements.

The Wall Street Journal played a part in the investigation stemming from a December 2010 profile it ran on Kharkover after mining the Medicare claims database. The Journal suspected financial abuse after discovery that Kharkover billed far more than the norm. Another allegation states that he billed for services performed during the time period in which he was actually away on vacation. Click here to read the December 2010 WSJ article.

According to Mr. Kharkover’s lawyer, there was no plea deal; his client simply “pled guilty to all charges listed in the indictment,” according to the Journal.

CINCINNATI, OHIO (May 3, 2011) The Oxy Express could be responsible for more deaths than any other drug-related death in the country. It comes as no surprise to local law enforcement then that the doctors who write the most prescriptions of Oxycodone have all practiced in the heart of the Oxycodone supply area, South Florida.

The more than 800 pain clinics in Florida issue 85% of the Oxycodone prescriptions in the country. Addicts climb into vans, cars and buses to make the trip from Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana to get their hands on powerful narcotic painkillers. They’ll shoot it, snort it or smoke it, unless they’re also dealers and buying for the lucrative resale market.

The DEA says pain clinics can make up to $20,000 in a morning and will even hire armed guards to patrol the clinic parking lot. The DEA makes it clear that it doesn’t want to target legitimate doctors issuing legitimate pain prescriptions.

PALM BEACH, FL – Palm Beach County State Attorney Michael McAuliffe announced the arrest and filing of criminal charges against 11 individuals, including five physicians, for a total of 172 counts which include Racketeering (RICO), Conspiracy to Commit Racketeering, Trafficking in Oxycodone, Money Laundering, Unlicensed Practice of Health Care Profession and other related criminal charges. The arrests follow a complex multi-agency investigation dubbed OPERATION “PILL NATION” involving roughly 340 undercover buys from doctors and medical personnel in pain clinics throughout a three county South Florida area.

OPERATION “SNAKE OIL” (click here to see an earlier post about this) also carried out the same day as “OPERATION “PILL NATION” is a result of the ongoing efforts by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), a partnership between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. The OCDETF mission is to identify, investigate, and prosecute high level members of drug trafficking enterprises, bringing together the combined expertise and unique abilities of federal, state and local law enforcement and being prosecuted by the federal authorities.

“Legitimate pain management is a essential part of medical practice,” however “we cannot, and will not, allow medicine to be used by merchants of misery to corrupt the health of individuals and undermine the welfare of whole communities. We are in a continuing crisis, but the tide is turning and today’s enforcement actions provide a clear example of progress,” said State Attorney McAuliffe. To read the State Attorney’s Office’s Press release in its entirety, click here.

Defendants Owned and Worked at Seven Area Clinics that Prescribed over 660,000 Pills, Profited More than $22 Million

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL – The United States Attorney for the Southern District, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Criminal Investigation, announce the indictment of six South Florida residents for their participation in the illegal distribution of pain killers.

snake-oil.jpgToday’s case, dubbed Operation Snake Oil, is a result of the ongoing efforts by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), a partnership between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. The OCDETF mission is to identify, investigate, and prosecute high level members of drug trafficking enterprises, bringing together the combined expertise and unique abilities of federal, state and local law enforcement.

drugs_1.jpgAccording to an article in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, at least 45 pain clinics opened in Broward and Palm Beach counties in the past year, while state law makers and state and local law enforcement agencies stepped-up their efforts to put an end to the operation suspected “pill mills.”

In August 2008, 66 pain clinics were open for business in Broward and Palm Beach counties combined. The Sun-Sentinel article reports that according to data available from the Florida Department of Health, the number centers issuing narcotic pain medications currently is more than the times what it was in August 2008 – with 122 in Broward to 122 and in Palm Beach County to 108.

Pain clinics “are proliferating despite our efforts,” Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti said last week, after state and federal agents executed search warrants at three pain clinics owned or controlled by Christopher and Jeffrey George in Palm Beach County. The Georges’ homes were also searched.