Two pharmacy owners plead guilty in money laundering and health fraud case against COVID-19 | OPA

Two New York men have pleaded guilty to a money laundering conspiracy to use New York area pharmacies to submit false and fraudulent Medicare claims and then launder the criminal proceeds.

Arkady Khaimov, 39, of Forest Hills, pleaded guilty today to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. Peter Haim, 42, also of Forest Hills, pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering conspiracy on Nov. 3.

According to court documents, Haim and Haimov engaged in an elaborate money laundering conspiracy to launder the proceeds of a fraudulent health care scheme involving more than a dozen New York area pharmacies that they and their co-conspirators owned and controlled. Specifically, Haim and Haimov used New York pharmacies to submit millions of dollars in fraudulent claims to Medicare, including during the COVID-19 pandemic. These fraudulent claims include claims for expensive cancer drugs Targretin Gel 1% and Panretin Gel 0.1% which were not prescribed by doctors or dispensed to patients and which were said to have been dispensed during periods when certain pharmacies were closed. Khaim, Khaimov and their co-conspirators took advantage of the COVID-19 emergency for their own financial gain by using the COVID-19-related “emergency cancellation” billing codes to submit additional fraudulent claims for Targretin Gel 1%.

To conceal over $18 million in their criminal proceeds, Haim, Haimov and their co-conspirators funneled money through several shell companies, including fake pharmacy wholesale companies designed to look like legitimate wholesalers. Haim and Haimov usually sent the funds from the bank accounts of the pharmacies they controlled to the fake wholesale companies. The funds are then usually sent to companies in China for distribution to individuals in Uzbekistan, and the defendants receive a portion of these funds in cash. In other cases, the fraudulent proceeds were sent by the bogus wholesale companies to Haim, Haimov, their relatives, or their designees in the form of certified cashier’s checks and cash. Haim and Haimov used the proceeds of the scheme to buy real estate and other luxury items.

Haimov is expected to be sentenced on May 3, 2023. Haim is scheduled to be sentenced on May 10, 2023. Each faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine each sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Pollitt, Jr. of the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice; US Attorney Breon Peace for the Eastern District of New York; Assistant Director Michael J. Driscoll of the FBI’s New York field office; Acting Special Agent in Charge Susan Frisco of the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS-OIG); Special Agent in Charge Thomas M. Fatorusso of the IRS Office of Criminal Investigations (IRS-CI) in New York; and Special Agent in Charge Patricia Taraska of the Office of the Inspector General of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC-OIG) made the announcement.

HHS-OIG, FBI, IRS-CI and FDIC-OIG are investigating the matter.

Acting Chief Assistant Deputy Chief Jacob Foster of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Unit and Trial Attorney Andrew Estes of the Brooklyn Task Force’s Fraud Unit are prosecuting the case. Former Fraud Unit trial attorney Patrick Mott previously worked on the investigation.

The Fraud Unit leads the Crime Branch’s efforts to combat health care fraud through the Health Care Fraud Task Force program. Since March 2007, this program, made up of 15 task forces operating in 24 federal districts, has indicted more than 4,200 defendants who collectively billed the Medicare program more than $19 billion. In addition, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working with the Office of Inspector General at the Department of Health and Human Services, is taking steps to hold providers accountable for their participation in health care fraud schemes. More information is available at https://www.justice.gov/criminal-fraud/health-care-fraud-unit.

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