Owner of pharmacies in Brooklyn and Queens charged in healthcare fraud and kickback scheme


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Date: March 17, 2021

Contact: newsroom@ci.irs.gov

BROOKLYN, NY — An indictment was unsealed today in federal court in Brooklyn charging Robert John Sabet, the owner of Brooklyn Chemists in Gravesend, Brooklyn, and Lucky Care Pharmacy in Flushing, Queens, with conspiracy to commit health care fraud, conspiracy to defraud the United States by paying kickbacks and bribes in connection with the provision of health care services, and unlawfully spending the proceeds of his fraud. Sabet was arrested today and is scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon via videoconference before United States Magistrate Judge Ramon E. Reyes, Jr.

Seth D. DuCharme, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; Nicholas L. McQuaid, Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department's Criminal Division; Jonathan D. Larsen, Special Agent-in-Charge, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, New York (IRS-CI); Scott J. Lampert, Special Agent-in-Charge, Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, New York Regional Office (HHS-OIG); and Frank T. Walsh, Jr., Acting Medicaid Inspector General, New York State Office of the Medicaid Inspector General (OMIG), announced the arrest and indictment..

"The defendant's alleged participation in health care fraud, and his payment of kickbacks and bribes, corrupted the trusted relationship between pharmacies and patients, and potentially harmed the very people that the Medicare and Medicaid programs are intended to serve," stated Acting U.S. Attorney DuCharme.

"Many Americans rely heavily on the social safety nets provided by Medicare and Medicaid when they are needed," stated IRS Special Agent-in-Charge Larsen. "Benefiting personally as alleged impacts all of us both today and tomorrow."

"Billing Medicare and Medicaid for medically unnecessary costs diverts taxpayer funds from their intended purpose of providing life-sustaining health care services to beneficiaries. Sabet's alleged payment of bribes and kickbacks also threatens the integrity of federal health care programs. It is unacceptable when health care providers seek personal enrichment by defrauding the programs on which their patients rely, and along with our law enforcement partners, we will continue to hold these individuals accountable for their actions," stated HHS-OIG Special Agent-in-Charge Lampert.

"Particularly as we continue to recover from the COVID pandemic, individuals who commit Medicaid fraud prey on the most vulnerable New Yorkers, threaten the viability of programs that provide vital health care services, and steal taxpayer dollars. My office will continue to work closely with our partners in law enforcement to hold fully accountable those who seek to exploit the Medicaid program for personal gain," stated OMIG Acting Inspector General Walsh.

As set forth in court filings, since September 2016, Sabet allegedly conspired to bill Medicare and Medicaid for expensive prescription drugs that were not eligible for reimbursement because they were not needed or not dispensed. Sabet also allegedly conspired to pay kickbacks and bribes to customers to convince them to fill prescriptions at his pharmacies, and to pay customers cash in exchange for the ability to bill Medicare and Medicaid for over-the-counter health care-related products on their behalf.

In December 2020, Sabet allegedly wired nearly $100,000 from Lucky Care's bank accounts to an automobile dealership to pay for a luxury car. Investigators conducted a search warrant at Sabet's home at the time of his arrest and seized a 2020 Porsche Taycan worth over $250,000, as well as cash and luxury goods.

The charges in the indictment are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, Sabet faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for conspiracy to commit health care fraud; five years in prison for conspiracy to pay kickbacks and bribes and 10 years in prison for unlawful spending.

The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Miriam L. Glaser Dauermann of the Justice Department's Fraud Section. The case was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, under the supervision of the Criminal Division's Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York.

The Defendant:

Robert Sabet

Brooklyn, New York

E.D.N.Y. Docket No.: 21-CR-140 (VMS)