A pharmacy owner from Syosset is facing federal charges in a $101 million Medicare and Medicaid fraud scheme, as part of a nationwide crackdown, prosecutors said Wednesday.
Jian Ai Chen, also known as Maggie, 48, a medical assistant and the owner of two pharmacies in Brooklyn, was arrested and arraigned on June 14 before Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge Lois Bloom and released on a $500,000 bond pending trial.
Chen was indicted on a charge of conspiracy to defraud in connection with a scheme to pay over $5 million in kickbacks to Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries in exchange for bringing their prescriptions to AC Pharmacy Corp. and A Star Pharmacy Inc., Brooklyn pharmacies that she owned, prosecutors said.
Chen allegedly agreed with others to submit false and fraudulent claims to Medicare and Medicaid plans for dispensing prescription medications that were induced by the payment of kickbacks and not actually dispensed, authorities said. Chen’s pharmacies received approximately $101 million as a result of the scheme, prosecutors said.
Chen's attorney could not immediately be reached for comment.
“These enforcement actions, including against one of the largest health care fraud schemes ever prosecuted by the Justice Department, represent our intensified efforts to combat fraud and prosecute the individuals who profit from it,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement. “The Justice Department will find and bring to justice criminals who seek to defraud Americans and steal from taxpayer-funded programs.”
Chen was among 78 defendants, including Carlo Elomina Garcia, 51, of Astoria, Queens, targeted for allegedly participating in over $2.5 billion in health care fraud and opioid abuse schemes that included, in some instances, the purchase of yachts and luxury vehicles, federal prosecutors said.
Garcia, a licensed occupational therapist, and the owner of Carlo E. Garcia Occupational Therapy in Queens, was arrested and arraigned on Monday and released on a $25,000 bond pending trial.
An attorney for Garcia could not be reached for comment.
Prosecutors alleged that from May 2017 through June 2021, Garcia through his company, billed Medicare and Medicaid for over $3.9 million in occupational therapy services and was paid over $1.6 million. Prosecutors said many of the billed services were not reimbursement-eligible, were not provided as billed or were not provided at all.
“As alleged, the defendants abused the trust placed in them by Medicare and Medicaid by falsely billing these essential programs for their own enrichment," said U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District Breon Peace. "This enforcement action demonstrates our continued commitment to vigorously prosecute health care providers who steal from taxpayer-funded programs intended to help those in need.”