Pharmacist Sentenced for $5 Million Health Care Fraud Scheme

A New York pharmacist has been sentenced to 43 months' imprisonment followed by 3 years of supervised release after pleading guilty to committing a $5 million health care fraud scheme.

A New York pharmacist has been sentenced to 43 months’ imprisonment followed by 3 years of supervised release after pleading guilty to committing a $5 million health care fraud scheme.

Andrew Barrett, 57, of New City, operated pharmacies in Bronx, Queens, and Rockland counties as a licensed pharmacist. From January 2011 to December 2012, he billed Medicare and Medicaid for more than $5 million for prescription medications that he never dispensed to patients from his Queens pharmacy. Barrett then used more than $4 million of his fraudulent gains to purchase drugs for his Bronx and Rockland pharmacies, and he siphoned off more than $2.5 million for personal expenses that he falsely claimed as business expenses on his personal and corporate tax returns.

According to New City Patch, Barrett pleaded guilty on May 25, 2016, to committing health care fraud and filing false tax returns. He was sentenced for the crimes on September 9, 2016, and as part of his sentence, he is required to forfeit $2.7 million in criminal proceeds, $2.7 million in restitution to Medicare and Medicaid, and $736,000 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service.

“Instead of using his pharmacist license to provide valid relief to those in need, Andrew Barrett used it as a license to steal from publicly-funded health care programs and then lied about it on his tax returns,” stated US Attorney Loretta Lynch when Barrett was indicted on March 20, 2015, with charges of health care fraud, filing false claims, unlawful monetary transactions, filing false personal tax returns, and filing of and assisting in the preparation of false corporate tax returns, according to the prosecutor’s statement. Barrett was accused of stealing $5 million from Medicare and Medicaid before pleading guilty to these charges.

The case was a result of President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF), which was created in November 2009 to investigate and prosecute fraudulent financial crimes. Since its conception, the FFEF has aggressively increased investigation and prosecution of fraudulent crimes across the United States. Over the past 3 fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed more than 10,000 financial fraud causes against nearly 15,000 defendants.

Barrett’s fraud scheme is responsible for a tax loss of $736,192.80, New City Patch reported. He is sentenced to 43 months’ imprisonment, followed by 3 years of supervised release. He is also required to pay restitution to the government.