Two owners of pharmacies in Nassau and New York City defrauded the Medicare system of $30 million meant to assist patients during the COVID-19 pandemic, federal authorities said Monday.
Peter Khaim, 40, and Arkadiy Khaimov, 37, brothers from Forest Hills, were each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit health care and wire fraud, and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, according to a statement from Seth D. DuCharme, acting U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York.
Federal prosecutors said Khaim and Khaimov "exploited emergency codes" during the pandemic and submitted fraudulent claims "for expensive cancer drugs that were never provided, ordered or authorized by medical professionals," the statement said.
In total, authorities said the defendants were responsible for a $30 million fraud and money laundering scheme.
The pair, "together with others, owned controlled and operated," IVS Pharmacy in Fresh Meadows, Genome Pharmacy in New Hyde Park and Malvern Drug Corp. in West Hempstead as well as 10 pharmacies in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens, federal prosecutors said.
Khaim and Khaimov "manipulated information in over a dozen pharmacies to defraud the Medicare program, including by taking advantage of systems that were intended to assist patients during the COVID-19 pandemic, and then went to great lengths to hide their ill-gotten gains through a network of sham companies," DuCharme said in the statement.
They used COVID-19 emergency override billing codes to submit the fraudulent claims to Medicare, authorities said. The brothers controlled the businesses by "paying others to pose as the owners of the pharmacies and hiring pharmacists to pretend to be supervising pharmacists at the pharmacies for the purpose of obtaining pharmacy licenses," federal prosecutors said.
Khaim was separately charged with two counts of concealment money laundering and one count of aggravated identity theft, officials said. Khaimov was separately charged with two counts of concealment money laundering, authorities said. The men were arrested Monday and officials said they were later arraigned.
Khaim’s lawyer could not be reached for comment. Khaim posted $3 million bond Monday, a spokesman for the Eastern District of New York said in an email.
Khaimov "consented to detention with leave to submit a request for bail in the future," the spokesman said.
Khaimov’s Manhattan-based attorney, Isabelle Kirshner, declined to comment Monday afternoon.
Officials said Khaim and Khaimov created sham pharmacy wholesale companies, which they named after existing pharmacy wholesalers. The defendants also made up references to invoices to make it appear that funds transferred from pharmacies to bogus wholesale pharmaceutical companies were for legitimate purposes, officials said.