By Jonathan Sperling
She was supposed to be filling prescriptions — now a Queens pharmacist may be filling a prison cell.
Aleah Mohammed, 33, the owner of four Queens pharmacies, was indicted in federal court on Monday on charges of healthcare fraud stemming from an alleged a scheme to defraud several publicly funded healthcare programs with millions of dollars in dishonest claims, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York stated.
“According to the allegations in the indictment announced today, Aleah Mohammed defrauded the taxpayer-funded Medicare and Medicaid programs by submitting millions of dollars of phony reimbursement claims, and then used the stolen money to purchase luxury items such as cars and jewelry,” stated Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski. “This case is another example of the outstanding work of the Department’s Medicare Fraud Strike Forces, which are focused on safeguarding federally funded health care programs and vigorously prosecuting those who seek to defraud them.”
Mohammed, also known as “Aleah Haniff,” allegedly began her scheme in May 2015 as the owner and operator of Superdrugs Inc., Superdrugs I Inc., Superdrugs II Inc. and S&A Superdrugs II Inc., a series of drugstores located throughout South Richmond Hill and Rochdale. Her alleged scheme consisted of her and others “submitting fraudulent claims to Medicare Part D plans and Medicaid for reimbursement for prescription drugs that were not dispensed, prescribed as claimed or medically necessary,” up until June 2018. The claims included prescription drugs used to treat HIV.
Due to the alleged scheme, Mohammed’s pharmacies collected $7.9 million in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements, and Mohammed is alleged to have subsequently used her fraudulent earnings to purchase several luxury items, including jewelry and a Porsche.
“Ms. Mohammed’s alleged fraud scheme was motivated by nothing more than personal greed,” Special Agent-in-Charge Scott J. Lampert,Special Agent-in-Charge, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, Office of Investigations, New York Region, said in a statement . “This indictment should serve as a warning to any health care provider daring to use Medicare and Medicaid as a vehicle to steal money. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to aggressively pursue those who seek to undermine taxpayer-funded health care programs intended for our most vulnerable Americans.”
Mohammed could face up to 10 years prison if convicted of health care fraud. The case against her was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force under the supervision of the EDNY and the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.