NEWARK, N.J. – A former president of the pharmacy business has admitted to being involved in a medical kickback conspiracy involving prescriptions to Medicare and Tricare recipients, US Attorney Vikas Khanna announced today.
Eran Yaish, 53, of Israel, on Aug. 16, 2023, before U.S. District Judge Esther Salas in Newark Federal Court on information accused of conspiring to violate federal anti-kickback laws. pleaded guilty to
According to documents and court statements filed in the lawsuit:
From September 2017 to around December 2020, Mr. Yaish participated in pharmacy operations, including Apogee Bio-Pharm LLC in Edison, New Jersey. Yaish and others have agreed to participate in a scheme to pay marketing firms to deliver expensive prescriptions directly to pharmacies.
Marketers target high-priced drugs Identify Medicare and Tricare beneficiaries, contact them by phone, and try expensive drugs such as pain relievers, scar creams, eczema creams, and migraine remedies. pressured to agree to The marketing company then sent recordings of calls with beneficiaries to telemedicine companies, along with pre-marked prescription pads for specific drugs that resulted in exorbitant reimbursement. Marketers paid rebates to telemedicine companies for each beneficiary referred a prescription, and telemedicine companies paid prescription approval fees to physicians. The marketing company then directed the prescriptions to be sent to pharmacies, including Apogee, who signed the rebate agreement. Pharmacies filled prescriptions and sought reimbursements from federal health care benefit programs such as Medicare and Tricare. Pharmacies, including Apogee, then paid a portion of their respective reimbursements to the marketing company as a rebate. As a result of the scheme, Yaish and his co-conspirators cost Medicare and other federal health care benefits more than $32 million.
Conspiracy to violate anti-kickback laws carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 or twice the gross profit or loss resulting from the crime, whichever is greater. Sentencing is scheduled for December 20, 2023.
U.S. Attorney Khanna acknowledged that FBI Special Agents worked under the direction of Newark Special Agent James E. Dennehy. Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge, Naomi Gruchach. Under the direction of Special Agent Patrick J. Hegarty, the US Department of Defense Inspector General’s Office of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, Northeast Field Office conducted an investigation that led to a guilty plea.
Representing the government are Assistant U.S. Attorney Catherine M. Romano of the Medical Fraud Division and Senior Trial Attorney Barbara Ward of Newark’s Asset Recovery and Money Laundering Division.