Newark, New Jersey– On 23rd February 2021, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced that an ex-sales person was apprehended for his participation in a scheme to swindle public health plans by charging for medically unrequired compounded prescriptions.
Matthew Puccio, age 38, from Randolph, New Jersey, was charged by a federal grand jury on 17th February 2021 for conspiracy to perpetrate health care fraud. He will be presented in court at a date that will be scheduled.
As per the charge returned on 22nd February 2021:
Compounded drugs are unique drugs blended by a pharmacist to cater to the personal medical requirements of a particular patient. Although compounded medications are not sanctioned by the FDA (Food and Drugs Administration), they are correctly prescribed when a doctor ascertains that an FDA-approved drug does not cater to the medical requirements of an individual patient, such if a patient is sensitive to a dye or other elements in the prescription.
From November 2014 to March 2016, Puccio took part in a conspiracy that entailed the presentation of fraudulent prescriptions for compounded drugs to public health welfare plans. The plot focused on marketing enterprises hiring and remitting salespersons, such as Puccio, to acquire compounded drugs for themselves and others disregarding the medical need, and by specifically preying on health care programs that remunerated for compounded drugs at inflated rates.
Puccio took advantage of that chance by working as a salesperson for numerous compounding chemists. He preyed on persons who had health coverage that insured compounded drugs and then persuaded those persons to get prescriptions for compounded drugs, disregarding the medical need. Puccio and his accomplices convinced two New Jersey-based doctors to write medically unrequired prescriptions for recipients that he and his accomplices had enrolled.
Once the prescriptions were issued, they were filled by the compounding chemists which hired Puccio. The compounding chemists would then obtain remuneration from health care programs and would remit a percentage of the remuneration total to Puccio.
The indictment of conspiracy to perpetrate health care fraud bears a maximum term of ten years in federal prison and a 250,000 USD fine, or double the gross loss or profit from the crime.
Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig commended the investigation team comprising of special agents of the FBI, under the leadership of Acting Special Agent in Charge in Newark, George M. Crouch, for leading to the arraignment.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Opioid Abuse Prevention and Enforcement Unit in Newark, Sean M. Sherman, and Emma Spiro, stood in for the government in the case.
The indictment and claims contained in the charge are just allegations, and the suspect is considered innocent until or unless proven liable.
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