Paramus Man Convicted After Federal Health Care Fraud Raid Uncovers $2 Million Medicare and Medicaid
According to an article by Lianna Albrizio on tapinto.net, 36-year-old Eduard Shtindler, the previous owner and operator of Empire Pharmacy in West New York, NJ, was charged in connection with a $2 million Medicare and Medicaid fraud scheme, and convicted of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and conspiracy to pay illegal kickbacks to a doctor.
According to Albrizio and a press release from the US Attorney District of New Jersey, “During his five-year stint at Empire Pharmacy from 2012 to 2017, Eduard “Eddy” Shtindler reportedly bribed a Hudson County psychiatrist to send prescriptions to his pharmacy. The paper currency was rolled up in pill bottles, which were delivered to the doctor, in exchange for patients, according to the release. Though the amount of the bribes was not specified, it was reported in 2015 that Empire perpetrated a fraudulent scheme to bribe doctors to send pricey specialty medication prescriptions to the pharmacy at the behest of Shtindler. Because specialty medications mandated prior authorization to be approved for reimbursement by insurance providers like Medicare and Medicaid, two pharmacists at Empire falsified prior authorization forms for medications for various autoimmune diseases and viral infections like Hepatitis C. In this time, the pharmacy managed to defraud the insurance companies out of at least $2 million.
Shtinder was just one of 54 defendants, comprised of pharmacists, marketing executives, doctors, and the owners of a genetic testing lab, all with ties to different states, all of which were “convicted and charged after a coordinated health care fraud enforcement action spanning seven federal districts in the northeast resulted in over $800 million in losses and the distribution of more than 3.25 million opioid pills in ‘pill mill’ clinics and doctors’ offices. Fifteen medical professionals and 24 defendants were charged for their part in diverting the drugs.”
The Newark/Philadelphia Regional Medicare Fraud Strike Force was formed to investigate complex cases such as these, cases that not only involve fraud, but also fuel the opioid epidemic. Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski stated, “Physicians and other medical professionals who fraudulently bill our federal health care programs are stealing from taxpayers and robbing vulnerable patients of necessary medical care. The medical professionals and others engaging in criminal behavior by peddling opioids for profit continue to fuel our nation’s drug crisis. The Department of Justice will continue to use every tool at our disposal, including data analytics and traditional law enforcement techniques, to investigate, prosecute, and punish this reprehensible behavior and protect federal programs from abuse.”