California man convicted of $723,000 healthcare fraud

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.

Bottles of pills arranged on a shelf in a drugstore

Bottles of pills arranged on a shelf in a drugstore
(iStock)

According to court documents and testimonies obtained in court, Kalantari’s co-conspirators provided him with information about the person who received the drugs.

MAINE DOCTOR FOUND BY STRIKE FORCE FOR PRESCRIBING ILLEGAL OPIOIDS

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.

These illustrations, provided by drugmaker ViiV Healthcare on Thursday, December 10, 2020, show a depiction of the packaging and vials of its new HIV treatment Cabenuva, to be published on Thursday, January 21, 2021 by the US Food and Drug Administration approved.  US regulators have approved the first long-acting combination drug for HIV, monthly injections that can replace the daily pills used for decades to control infection with the AIDS virus.  Cabenuva's approval on Thursday is expected to make it easier for people to stay on track with their HIV medications, and to do so with greater privacy (ViiV Healthcare via AP).

These illustrations, provided by drugmaker ViiV Healthcare on Thursday, December 10, 2020, show a depiction of the packaging and vials of its new HIV treatment Cabenuva, to be published on Thursday, January 21, 2021 by the US Food and Drug Administration approved. US regulators have approved the first long-acting combination drug for HIV, monthly injections that can replace the daily pills used for decades to control infection with the AIDS virus. Cabenuva’s approval on Thursday is expected to make it easier for people to stay on track with their HIV medications, and to do so with greater privacy (ViiV Healthcare via AP).

Instead, the drugs would be shipped to co-conspirators to sell in the illicit market.

WISCONSIN DENTIST FOUND GUILTY OF BREAKING PATIENTS TEETH SO HE COULD FIX THEM IN FRAUD PLAN

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.

Ministry of Justice

Ministry of Justice
(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Kalantari’s sentencing is scheduled for February 24, 2023.

5 DOCTORS Plead Guilty In WEST VIRGINIA PILL REGULATION WITH PRESCRIPTION

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.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

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.

Source