A pharmacist operating in New Port Richey, Florida as well as seven other individuals pleaded guilty last month to a compounding pharmacy fraud scheme, resulting in the forfeiture of various real properties, cars, and a 50-foot boat.
By the end of the scheme, which lasted about 3 years, the total value generated by the scheme was over $100 million.
Nicholas A. Borgesano Jr. is the president and owner of A to Z Pharmacy of New Port Richey, and was at the center of the scheme. Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Acting U.S. Attorney Stephen Muldrow of the Middle District of Florida, as well as agents from the FBI, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and various other federal and local agents declared early last month that Borgesano and various other individuals had pleaded guilty to the scheme.
The scheme, running from October 2012 to December 2015, impacted private insurance companies, Medicare, and TRICARE, which is a health care program for the military. It took advantage of prescription compounded medications, which are drugs that are specifically prepared for a patient based on a prescription from a doctor. In a compounded medication, a pharmacist combines ingredients to create an individualized product with a specific strength and dosage. By submitting false and fraudulent reimbursement claims for these prescription compounded medications – mainly pain creams and scar creams – Borgesano and his co-conspirators were able to be reimbursed for ingredients that the medications did not include.
The scheme also involved paying kickbacks and bribes in exchange for prescriptions and patient identifying information used to further the scheme, including to a physician in exchange for his signing prescriptions for patients he never saw. Borgesano admitted that A to Z Pharmacy was the hub of the operation executed on behalf of all of his pharmacies, where his seven other co-conspirators took part in the scheme. He disbursed proceeds in the form of check and wire transfer to co-conspirators’ shell companies and through the purchase of assets. All of the co-conspirators have since pleaded guilty to commit health care fraud.
The assets seized as part of the investigation include a 1936 Ford Deluxe, a 1964 Chevrolet Corvette convertible, a 1967 Chevrolet Camaro, a 1970 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, and a 2008 Lamborghini convertible. In addition, a 2009 50’7″ Cigarette racing boat and various real properties were seized. In total, the value of the assets seized is over $7.6 million, all of which was purchased with proceeds from the scheme.
The Medicare Fraud Strike Force brought the case, which is a joint initiative between the Department of Justice and Health and Human Services to focus their efforts to prevent fraud and enforce laws around the country. Since 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force has charged defendants who have falsely billed the Medicare program over $12.5 billion.
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