New York City pharmacist charged in running healthcare fraud scheme

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A New York City pharmacist was arrested for allegedly running a Medicare/Medicaid kickback scheme and using the funds to bribe customers and buy luxury items.

Robert Sabet, 44, is the owner of Brooklyn Chemists in Gravesend, Brooklyn, and Lucky Care Pharmacy in Flushing, Queens. He was charged with conspiracy to commit health care fraud, conspiracy to defraud the United States by paying kickbacks and bribes in connection with the provision of health care services, and unlawfully spending the proceeds of his fraud.

“The defendant’s alleged participation in health care fraud, and his payment of kickbacks and bribes, corrupted the trusted relationship between pharmacies and patients, and potentially harmed the very people that the Medicare and Medicaid programs are intended to serve,” stated Acting U.S. Attorney Seth DuCharme.

According to court documents, since September 2016 Sabet allegedly conspired to bill Medicare and Medicaid for expensive prescription drugs that were not eligible for reimbursement because they were not needed or not dispensed. Sabet would also allegedly conspire to pay kickbacks and bribes to his customers in an effort to convince them to fill prescriptions at his pharmacies, giving them cash in exchange for billing Medicare and Medicaid for over-the-counter healthcare-related products on their behalf.

In December 2020, Sabet allegedly wired $100,000 from the accounts of Lucky Care to a car dealership to pay for a luxury vehicle. A search warrant of Sabet’s home, which led to his arrest, allegedly uncovered a 2020 Porsche Taycan, valued at over $250,000, as well as other luxury goods and cash.

“Particularly as we continue to recover from the COVID pandemic, individuals who commit Medicaid fraud prey on the most vulnerable New Yorkers, threaten the viability of programs that provide vital health care services, and steal taxpayer dollars. My office will continue to work closely with our partners in law enforcement to hold fully accountable those who seek to exploit the Medicaid program for personal gain,” stated OMIG Acting Inspector General Frank Walsh.

If convicted, Sabet faces up to 10 years in prison for conspiracy to commit health care fraud; five years in prison for conspiracy to pay kickbacks and bribes and 10 years in prison for unlawful spending.