Federal officials Thursday announced a health care fraud enforcement action in which 48 defendants across the Northeast have been charged in connection with allegedly submitting $160 million in fraudulent claims.
The action targeted one of the largest health care fraud schemes ever investigated by the FBI and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General and prosecuted by the Department of Justice, according to a news release.
In the Eastern District, which includes parts of New York City and Long Island, the takedown included two doctors, a pharmacist, an ex-pharmacist and a registered nurse from Seaford.
The nurse, Kevin McMahon, 31, pleaded guilty Wednesday to fentanyl possession for stealing the drug from the hospital where he worked, according to a release from Richard P. Donoghue, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York.
McMahon pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge before U.S. Magistrate Judge A. Kathleen Tomlinson in the federal courthouse in Central Islip, officials said.
McMahon is a nurse at Nassau University Hospital and has agreed to surrender his nursing license as part of his plea deal, officials said. He was caught removing fentanyl from an IV bag with a syringe and has acknowledged possessing fentanyl for his personal use while on the job, officials said.
Jason Russo, McMahon’s lawyer, could not be reached Thursday for comment. McMahon’s sentencing date has not yet been set, officials said.
“As alleged, defendants charged in the Eastern District of New York used fraud and deceit to steal Medicaid and Medicare funds meant to protect our elderly and most vulnerable residents,” Donoghue said in a statement.
McMahon "abused his position as a registered nurse diverting fentanyl for his personal use," officials said in the release.
Others charged in connection with the overall case elsewhere in the Northeast include an anesthesiologist charged with conspiracy to commit health care fraud for an alleged scheme involving kickbacks in return for prescribing equipment, prescription drugs and diagnostic tests that were not medically necessary and a neurologist charged with health care fraud for allegedly falsely billing Medicare for treatments that were never performed.