The son of a former Union City pharmacy co-owner admitted his role Thursday in a multimillion-dollar scheme to boost prescription sales by paying kickbacks and bribes to health care professionals.
Alex Fleyshmakher, 34, of Morganville, worked for his father, Igor Fleyshmakher of Holmdel, at Prime Aid in Union City.
He was also an on-paper owner of Prime Aid Bronx, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig said.
Operating out of both locations, the now-defunct Prime Aid Pharmacies processed expensive medications used to treat various conditions, including Hepatitis C, Crohn’s disease, and rheumatoid arthritis, the U.S. attorney said.
In order to generate more prescriptions, Fleyshmakher and his father orchestrated a scheme involving several co-conspirators, including pharmacy employees, to pay kickbacks and bribes to doctors and doctors’ employees in New Jersey and New York, Honig said.
Bribes included expensive meals and designer bags, as well as cash, checks and wire transfers, she said.
The prescriptions that just one of the bribed practices steered to Prime Aid Union City produced Medicare and Medicaid payments to the pharmacy of $24.8 million, the U.S. attorney said.
Overall, federal authorities pegged the entire windfall from the scheme at $99 million.
An estimated $65 million of reimbursement payments from Medicare, Medicaid and private insurers were for medications that the pharmacy not only didn’t give to patients but didn’t order or have in stock, they noted.
That was only part of the grand conspiracy, authorities said.
Alex Fleyshmakher, working with others, “surreptitiously” cashed millions of dollars worth of reimbursement checks at a Brooklyn check cashing business or diverted them through Canadian bank accounts back into U.S. accounts that he owned and controlled, Honig said.
“He concealed these funds and failed to report them on his personal income tax returns, resulting in a $9.1 million tax loss to the IRS,” she said.
Igor Fleyshmakher and former Prime Aid Union City employee Eduard “Eddy” Shtindler of Paramus were the first to plead guilty.
Their sentencings are pending the outcome of charges that were also filed against Glen Head, NY residents Samuel “Sam” Khaimov, who the other co-owner of Prime Aid Union City, and his wife, Yana Shtindler, a former pharmacy employee who is Eduard Shtindler’s sister. Also charged is Ruben Sevumyants, of Marlboro, who was Prime Aid Union City’s operations manager.
Alex Fleyshmakher pleaded guilty during a videoconference Thursday with U.S. District Judge Michael A. Shipp in Newark to conspiring to violate the federal anti-kickback statute and defraud the IRS.
Shipp scheduled sentencing for May 27.
Honig credited special agents of the FBI Newark Field Office, special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, also in Newark, special agents of the Department of Health and Human Services-Office of Inspector General and the New Jersey State Comptroller’s Office with the investigation leading to the guilty plea, secured by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua L. Haber of Honig’s Health Care Fraud Unit.
A 62-year-old West New York woman was killed and a suspect taken into custody on Thursday, authorities said.
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