Sherman Oaks pharmacy owners sentenced to 12 years each in fraud scheme – Daily News

on Feb27
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By FRED SHUSTER, City News Service

Two Los Angeles pharmacy owners were sentenced to a dozen years behind bars on Wednesday, Feb. 26 for operating a multimillion-dollar health care fraud and money laundering scheme to bill Medicare for medications that were never provided and to launder the illicit proceeds.

Aleksandr Suris, 51, and Maxim Sverdlov, 45, both of Sherman Oaks, were also held jointly responsible for more than $11.8 million in restitution, payable primarily to Medicare, and ordered to pay $500,000 each within six months.

The defendants were taken into federal custody immediately following the imposition of sentence.

Suris and Sverdlov were convicted in August in Los Angeles federal court of one count each of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Suris was also found guilty of one additional count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and six additional counts of health care fraud. Both defendants were acquitted of three counts of health care fraud.

According to evidence presented during the 11-day trial, Suris and Sverdlov fraudulently billed Medicare and CIGNA for prescription medications that were not actually dispensed to beneficiaries by the pharmacy they owned, Royal Care Pharmacy, from 2012 to 2015.

In order to hide the fraud, Suris and Sverdlov obtained fake invoices from a co-conspirator to make it appear as if Royal Care had purchased the medicines for which it had billed Medicare, when it had not, prosecutors said. They also used the bogus invoices to launder the proceeds of the fraud through a co-conspirator.

Suris “spent a significant amount of the money on himself and close family members,” U.S. District Judge S. James Otero said from the bench, noting that the Ukrainian defendant’s purchases included expensive cars and homes.

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