US sentences pharmacy owners for involving in USD18M COVID fraud, money laundering

(MENAFN) In a significant development, two pharmacy owners in the United States have been sentenced for their roles in an elaborate USD18 million health care fraud and money laundering scheme, announced by the Justice Department on Monday.

Peter Khaim, 44, from Forest Hills, New York, received a sentence of eight years and one month in prison. His brother and co-defendant, Arkadiy Khaimov, 41, also from Forest Hills, was sentenced earlier on April 3 to six years in prison. Both had previously pleaded guilty in November 2022 to charges related to conspiracy to commit money laundering.

According to the Justice Department statement, Khaim and Khaimov utilized pharmacies in the New York area to submit millions of dollars in false and fraudulent claims to Medicare, a federal health insurance program. These activities reportedly occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic. To conceal their illicit gains, the duo and their accomplices funneled the money through multiple shell companies. These included sham pharmacy wholesale entities that were set up to appear legitimate.

The proceeds from the pharmacies' bank accounts were transferred to these shell companies, which subsequently sent funds to businesses in China. From there, the money was distributed to individuals located in Uzbekistan, completing a complex money laundering operation.

The case underscores the severity of health care fraud and the Justice Department's commitment to combating such illegal activities, especially during times of crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic. The sentencing of Khaim and Khaimov serves as a deterrent against fraudulent schemes targeting government health care programs, ensuring accountability for those who exploit them for personal gain.

As legal proceedings continue, the Justice Department remains vigilant in its efforts to uphold integrity within the health care system and protect taxpayer-funded programs from exploitation.



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