DA: Manhattan Pharmacist Arrested & Indicted After Defrauding Medicaid out of Nearly $2 Million

According to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr., this Medicaid bust may be just the tip of the prescription pad iceberg and that more arrests in other investigations are coming. Prosecutors allege that Patrick Alcindor, a pharmacist with Procare Pharmacy, located at 1728 Amsterdam Ave. in Washington Heights, over-billed Medicaid for more than $1.8 million between April 2009 and March 2010. In fact, prosecutors claim that during this sting operation, an undercover police officer gave Mr. Alcindor written prescriptions to be filled, but the undercover police officer got a fist full of dollars in instead. These prescriptions included medications such as Reyataz, Truvada, Prezista, Procrit, and Zyprexa. Instead of dispensing this medication, Mr. Alcindor allegedly dispensed cash to the undercover police officer as part of Mr. Alcindor’s alleged scheme to swindle Medicaid. Mr. Alcindor would then bill Medicaid as if he really filled the prescription for the drugs. It is claimed by law enforcement that another pharmacy worker was in on the scheme.

Mr. Alcindor is currently charged with numerous counts of Grand Larceny including Grand Larceny in the First Degree. Additionally, the indictment charged Mr. Alcindor with Criminal Diversion of Prescription Medication in the Fourth Degree. For whatever reason, prosecutors chose not to charge Mr. Alcindor with the crimes of Forgery, Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument and Falsifying Business Records for his alleged conduct in completing and filing false documentation to obtain the money from Medicaid.

Ranging from “E” to “B” felonies, if convicted of the most serious Grand Larceny offense, Mr. Alcindor faces a minimum of one to three years in prison with a maximum term of eight and one third to twenty five years in prison.

Although a crime, Criminal Diversion of Prescription Medication in the Fourth Degree (New York Penal Law 178.10) is “merely” a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail. It is interesting to note that there is a defense found in the New York Penal Law to this crime. A duly licensed pharmacist acting in good faith in the lawful course of the practice of pharmacy may argue that his or her conduct was – just as it says in the statute – in good faith and not criminal. Practically speaking, however, it will certainly be “difficult” to convince a jury or judge that Mr. Alcindor acted in good faith if the evidence as reported by prosecutors is accurate. Having said that, Mr. Alcindor has a long road ahead of him regardless of the defense he determines is best.

Extensive information regarding the varying degrees of Grand Larceny and Article 155 crimes can be found on the highlighted links. A detailed look at the crime of Criminal Diversion of Prescription Medication in New York can also be found on the respective links as well. Additionally, the New York Criminal Lawyer Blog (NewYorkCriminalLawyerBlog.Com) has a significant amount of information regarding these and other crimes as well as statutes, legal decisions, analysis and newsworthy cases for review. Once on the blog, a search of these crimes will reveal this and other information.

Saland Law PC is a New York criminal defense firm founded by two former Manhattan prosecutors. Saland Law PC represents clients throughout the New York City region in criminal matters ranging from investigations to trials.

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