Investigators accuse Mohamed Mokbel of billing Medicare, Medicaid and insurance companies for phony prescriptions that were sometimes written for dead people.

BY CHACOUR KOOP

HOUSTON — A Houston pharmacy owner and his accountant were arrested Tuesday on charges of conspiracy to commit health care fraud to the tune of $134M.

Mohamed Mokbel, 56, owns several Houston-area pharmacies and is CEO of their parent company, 4M Pharmaceuticals, according to records.

The indictment alleges that from late 2013 through March of 2020, 4M pharmacies collectively received millions of dollars in payments from Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance companies based on fraudulent claims.

The owner and an accountant for 4M Pharmaceuticals, a Texas company with pharmacies in Houston and Fort Worth, were indicted in a health care fraud scheme. Screengrab from KTRK.

The funds were allegedly used, in part, to pay for Mokbel’s $1.5 million residence, a Ferrari, a Bentley and $15 million in gambling and casino expenses. The feds say Mokbel also transferred and controlled over $6 million in health care fraud proceeds in CD accounts at banks.

4M Pharmaceuticals is accused of operating as a telemarketing call center, soliciting Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance patients across the U.S. and offering unnecessary diabetic supplies and topical creams, authorities say. Though many declined, authorities say the company and its pharmacies still billed the patients’ insurance.

Sometimes, the company billed for prescriptions dispensed after a patient died, authorities say.

Authorities say the pharmacies also requested prescriptions from doctors for patients who already were dead.

From December 2013 through March 2020, the pharmacies collected more than $134 million in fraudulent claims through Medicare and other healthcare benefit programs, authorities say.

The joint investigation was done by ICE, Homeland Security Investigations, Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General, FDA, IRS, FBI,  Texas Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, Ohio Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and Texas State Board of Pharmacy.

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