A Beverly Hills, California man was convicted Tuesday in federal court of his involvement in a $723,000 health care fraud and prescription drug diversion program at two Southern California pharmacies, the US Department of Justice said.
Between 2016 and 2017, Shahriar “Michael” Kalantari, 55, forged prescriptions as part of what court documents call health fraud and an unlicensed wholesale distribution scheme.
According to court documents and testimonies obtained in court, Kalantari’s co-conspirators provided him with information about the person who received the drugs.
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Kalantari would then use the information to falsify drug prescriptions for expensive drugs such as those used to treat HIV.
The prescription would then be mailed to Medicare and Medicaid of California through Kalantari’s co-conspirators’ two Southern California pharmacies, though the drugs were never delivered to the beneficiaries, the DOJ said.
Instead, the drugs would be shipped to co-conspirators to sell in the illicit market.
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Kalantari is convicted of healthcare fraud, conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud, and conspiracy to unlicensed wholesale prescription drugs.
He faces a maximum sentence of 25 years, with a maximum of 10 years for each of the healthcare fraud convictions and a maximum of five years for unlicensed distribution.
Kalantari’s sentencing is scheduled for February 24, 2023.
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Both the FBI and the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General were investigating the case against Kalantari.
The Justice Department’s Criminal Division and the US Attorney’s Office for the Central District of Florida also helped with the investigation.
The crime department’s fraud division, the press release said, is leading efforts to combat healthcare fraud through the Health Care Fraud Strike Force Program, launched in 2007.
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The program involves 15 responders in 24 federal districts and has indicted more than 4,200 defendants who billed the Medicare program more than $19 billion.