HOUSTON – Two Houston space males are actually in custody on fees of conspiracy to commit well being care fraud referring to a pharmacy fraud scheme, introduced Performing U.S. Lawyer Jennifer Lowery.
Authorities arrested Mohamed Mokbel, 56, and Fathy Elsafty, 62, each of Houston, at the moment. They’re anticipated to make their preliminary appearances earlier than U.S. Justice of the Peace Decide Andrew Edison at 2 p.m.
The eight-count indictment alleges Mokbel is the proprietor of a number of Houston space pharmacies, whereas Elsafty is his accountant.
4M Prescribed drugs Inc. was the father or mother firm for a number of retail pharmacies that operated in Houston, Fort Price, South Florida and elsewhere, in response to the fees. Mokbel was 4M’s CEO and allegedly had possession pursuits within the subsidiary pharmacies. The fees allege Elsafty served as 4M’s accountant and tax preparer in addition to nominee proprietor of the a number of pharmacies.
4M Prescribed drugs allegedly functioned as an outbound telemarketing name middle that solicited Medicare, Medicaid and business insurance coverage sufferers nationwide – many over the over the age of 55. The indictment alleges name middle workers supplied sufferers medically pointless diabetic provides and topical lotions though many refused the solicitations. Nonetheless, 4M Prescribed drugs and pharmacies allegedly billed the affected person’s insurance coverage plan anyway. In some instances, 4M pharmacies billed for prescriptions disbursed after a affected person’s dying, in response to the allegations.
The scheme additionally allegedly focused medical doctors. The fees allege 4M Prescribed drugs despatched fax requests for prescriptions that sufferers typically didn’t authorize. In a number of instances, the corporate billed sufferers for pharmaceuticals with no legitimate prescription, in response to the allegations. 4M pharmacies additionally allegedly despatched prescription requests to medical doctors for useless sufferers.
In a number of cases, audits required 4M to supply paperwork, in response to the indictment. ElSafty allegedly participated in fabricating data.
The indictment alleges that from Dec. 13, 2013, by March 3, 2020, 4M pharmacies collectively obtained over $134 million in funds from Medicare and different healthcare profit applications primarily based on fraudulent claims. The funds had been allegedly used, partly, to pay for Mokbel’s $1.5 million residence, $15 million in playing and on line casino bills and purchases and funds for a Ferrari and a Bentley vehicle. Mokbel additionally transferred and managed over $6 million in well being care fraud proceeds in certificates of deposit accounts at banks, in response to the allegations.
Mokbel and ElSafty are charged with one rely of a conspiracy to commit well being care fraud, three counts of well being care fraud and 4 counts of cash laundering. All carry a doable jail sentence of 10 years in jail and a $250,000 most effective. Using telemarketing to focus on folks over 55 as a method to commit well being care fraud carries a further penalty of 10 years.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement – Homeland Safety Investigations, Division of Well being and Human Providers – Workplace of Inspector Normal, Meals and Drug Administration – Workplace of Felony Investigations, FBI, Texas Lawyer Normal’s Medicaid Fraud Management Unit, IRS – Felony Investigation, Ohio Medicaid Fraud Management Unit and Texas State Board of Pharmacy carried out the joint investigation.
Particular Assistant U.S. Lawyer Abdul Farukhi and Assistant U.S. Lawyer Zahra Fenelon are prosecuting the case.
An indictment is a proper accusation of felony conduct, not proof. A defendant is presumed harmless except convicted by due means of regulation.