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Government charges NY pharmacy owners with healthcare fraud: 2 important lessons.

On Behalf of | Jul 7, 2023 | Firm News |

Pharmacies are subject to various rules and regulations. Those who own these types of healthcare facilities are wise to conduct regular internal audits to make sure their practices are following these laws. A failure to do so can result in allegations of a violation. These allegations can come with serious consequences, as highlighted in a recent case.

#1: Initial allegations are just the start.

In this case, the pharmacy owners were initially under investigation for allegations of healthcare fraud. The government ultimately chose to move forward with additional charges, including money laundering. This is not uncommon. Money laundering essentially means use of tactics to remove the money from its original source. The government views this tactic as a way to “clean” the money, hence the term “laundering” as part of the charge.

Addition of these types of criminal charges means the prosecution can push for more harsh sentencing.

#2: These charges can come with serious penalties.

The government continues to crackdown on white collar crimes like healthcare fraud. This means more than just a harsh financial penalty is likely. But first, it is important to clarify that a harsh financial penalty is not an overstatement. In this case the owners could be forced to repay millions in fraudulent claims plus the potential for additional financial penalties.

Imprisonment is also likely. The pharmacy owners face up to 10 years for conspiracy to commit health care fraud and five for conspiracy to pay illegal healthcare kickbacks. The additional money laundering charges mean the prosecution can also ask for another 20 years imprisonment.

What should I learn from this case?

Pharmacy owners should use this case as a reminder of the harsh consequences that come with allegations of a violation of the law. It is wise to take prompt action after notification of an impending audit. Legal counsel experienced in this niche area of healthcare law can provide guidance and better ensure your rights are protected throughout the process.

Attorney John Rivas is responsible for this communication.

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