California man convicted for $723K fraud in health care

A California man was convicted by a federal jury for his part in a $723,000 health care fraud and prescription drug scheme that resulted in the drugs going on the black market.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, a Beverly Hills man was convicted Tuesday of his involvement in $723,000 in health care fraud and prescription drug diversion schemes at two Southern California pharmacies.

Shahriar Michael Kalantari (55), falsified prescriptions in a scheme that court documents refer to as a health care fraud and unlicensed wholesale distributorship.

Pill bottles arranged on shelves in a drugstore (iStock

According to court documents, and testimony given during in court proceedings, Kalantari’s accomplices provided information about the person who received the drug.



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Kalantari would then use this information to falsify prescriptions to expensive drugs such as those used for HIV treatment.

The prescription would then go to Medicare and Medicaid of California via Kalantari’s two Southern California pharmacies. However, the drugs were never given to beneficiaries, stated the DOJ.

These images, which were provided by ViiV Healthcare on Thursday Dec. 10, 2020, show a rendering the packaging and vials that contain Cabenuva, the new HIV treatment. It was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) on Thursday Jan. 21, 2021. The first combination drug that is long-acting and effective for HIV has been approved by U.S. regulators. These monthly shots can replace daily pills used for decades to combat the AIDS virus. Cabenuva’s approval on Thursday is expected to make it easier to keep track of HIV medications and provide more privacy (ViiV Healthcare via AP).

Instead, drugs would be given to conspirators for illegal sales.



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Kalantari was convicted of health fraud, conspiracy to do medical fraud and conspiracy to distribute prescription drugs wholesale without a license.

A maximum penalty of 25-years is imposed on him, along with 10-year maximum sentences for each conviction for health care fraud and a maximum five-year sentence for unlicensed distribution.

Department of Justice Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Kalantari’s sentencing will take place on February 24, 2023.



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The case against Kalantari was investigated by both the FBI and the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General.

This investigation was also supported by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Central District of Florida and the Criminal Division of the Justice Department.

According to the press release, the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section leads efforts to fight health care fraud through its Health Care Fraud Strike Force Program. This program was launched in 2007.



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This program consists of 15 strike forces located in 24 federal districts. It has charged over 4,200 defendants who have billed Medicare for more than $19 Billion.

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