The pharmaceutical industry in Pasadena is much like the rest of the United States. There are certainly an influx of individuals who receive Medicare using these services for particular ailments and diseases that accompany being older than 65 years old. However, a local Pasadena pharmacy, Akhtamar Pharmacy, was abusing the Medicare funds provided for those particular individuals. Although the pharmacy owner did not act alone, she was able to steal $1.3 million dollars from the Medicare system.
Pasadena Pharmacy Owner Convicted for Medicare Fraud
Although the pharmaceutical industry is driven by a purpose to help those who need medication, it can also be a place for fraudulent acts to occur. With so much paperwork to be completed, many individuals find themselves taking advantage of the system by falsifying numbers or providing inaccurate invoices. Unfortunately, this was the case in a Pasadena pharmacy. A 39-year-old pharmacy owner, Tamar Tatarian, was convicted on one count of healthcare fraud and two counts of wire fraud at Akhtamar Pharmacy in Pasadena. It is believed that she committed the fraudulent acts which amounted to $1.3 million dollars in total.
The FBI investigated this case and found that Tatarian was submitting false claims to Medicare for prescription drugs that were not being dispensed to patients. To cover up this case, Tatarian then provided invoices to the sellers, all of which had never actually taken place. During the trial phase, prosecutors presented evidence, including the hand-written invoice requests, which suggest that Tatarian did, in fact, commit the fraudulent acts. Tatarian testified that she did not commit fraud and that the prescriptions were dispensed to the appropriate patients. Conversely, the defense stated that she provided several falsified documents which proved her guilt. Sentencing has yet to take place but is scheduled for February 25th. The jury found Tatarian guilty.
Indictment Occured, Evidence Presented
Tatarian did not commit these acts alone. In fact, the evidence suggests that Tatarian was aided by several accomplices, some known and others unknown. Although these accomplices were not named during the initial indictment, they were mentioned. It appears that Tatarian created a network in order to allegedly commit this crime. With the help of said accomplices, she engaged in the fraudulent practices from 2015-2017. Although she did not act alone, the trial was solely focused on her as the main orchestrator of the crime.
Records indicate that the fraudulent acts were committed by Tatarian due to the fact that there were hand-written invoices provided to the seller, dated from May 2017 until August 2017, which were presented as evidence during the trial. As stated earlier, Tatarian testified that she did provide the prescription drugs to the patients who were covered by Medicare, with support of specific court documents. However, the prosecutors suggested that the prescription drugs were not ever dispensed to the patients. Although both sides provided compelling arguments, the jury found the evidence overwhelmingly in favor of the prosecution.
Tatarian’s Future and The Legal System
Tatarian’s sentencing will not occur until February 25th. In cases like this, jail time is a given. With a serious offense like Medicare fraud, it can be expected to be an overwhelming amount of years in the local penitentiary.
Ultimately, the issue does not only lie in the fact that the customers of Akhtamar Pharmacy were wronged; but also in the fact that Tatarian committed fraud which ruined her credibility as a pharmacy owner and questioned the integrity of the Medicare system as a whole. Tatarian will, thanks to the United States legal system, serve the appropriate amount of time for her fraudulent actions.
In the future, hopefully, pharmacy owners and those with the power to commit such fraud will look to cases like this as an example. The pharmaceutical industry exists to assist those who need it. If individuals, such as Tatarian, continue to abuse the system, one may wonder about the integrity of the entire system and if it would even be able to continue to exist. With continued abuse upon the Medicare system (and healthcare in general), it may begin to be a luxury that the United States can no longer enjoy. However, it seems there will always be individuals dedicated to maintaining, and if necessary restoring, the healthcare system.
To learn more about Medicare fraud, pharmaceutical fraud, and more, contact Jeffrey Newman Law today!