Curator summary – Alex Fleyshmakher (Bronx) operated a kickback scheme where he paid doctors to send patients to his pharmacies and got $25M in payments from Medicare and Medicaid.
A Marlboro man pleaded guilty on Thursday in federal court to paying kickbacks to doctors and their staff so they would send their patients to his family’s pharmacy and then concealed the activity from the IRS, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.
Alex Fleyshmakher, 34, of the Morganville section, was charged in the U.S. District Court in Trenton with conspiring to violate the federal anti-kickback statute and conspiring to defraud the IRS of $9.1 million in federal taxes, according to a written statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Fleyshmakher worked at a pharmacy chain called Prime Aid. He worked at its store in Union City, which was co-owned by his father, Igor Fleyshmakher. The younger Fleyshmakher was himself an owner of Prime Aid Bronx — at least on paper. The pharmacy chain specialized in expensive medications that are used to treat such conditions as Hepatitis C, Crohn’s disease, and rheumatoid arthritis, the statement said.
From 2008 and 2017, Fleyshamkher and other Prime Aid employees paid kickbacks and bribes to doctors and their employees in New Jersey and New York. Those kickbacks and bribes included expensive meals, designer bags, cash payments, check payments and money wire transfers, according to the statement.
The prescriptions processed at Prime Aid Union City from one New Jersey medical practice resulted in $24.8 million in Medicare and Medicaid payouts, the statement said.
From 2011 to 2018, Alex Fleyshmakher, working with others, “surreptitiously took insurance reimbursement checks” totaling millions of dollars from the Prime Aid Pharmacies, the statement said.
“Aided by his conspirators, Alex Fleyshmakher then cashed the checks at Brooklyn check cashing businesses or diverted them through Canadian bank accounts back into U.S. accounts that he owned and controlled. He concealed these funds and failed to report them on his personal income tax returns, resulting in a $9.1 million tax loss to the IRS,” the statement said.
The conspiracy and tax evasion charges to which Alex Fleyshmakher pleaded guilty each carries a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. A sentencing date has been scheduled for May 27, the statement said.
Other alleged conspirators in the kickback scheme included his father, Igor Fleyshmakher of Holmdel, who previously pleaded guilty for his role in the conspiracy; and Eduard “Eddy” Shtindler, of Paramus, who also previously pleaded guilty in a related kickback conspiracy. Their sentencing dates are also pending, the statement said.
Other defendants have also been charged in the matter.
The Prime Aid pharmacies in Union City and the Bronx are now closed, the statement said.
Fleyshmakher made his plea by videoconference Thursday before U.S. District Judge Michael A. Shipp in Trenton.
Honig credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr. in Newark; special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael Montanez in Newark; special agents of the Department of Health and Human Services-Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Scott J. Lampert; and the N.J. Office of the State Comptroller, under the direction of Acting Comptroller Kevin D. Walsh, with the investigation that resulted in Thursday’s guilty plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua L. Haber of the Health Care Fraud Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark.
Newark-based defense attorney Henry Klingeman represents Fleyshmakher.