13 people have just been indicted in a massive DEA operation—codename Avalanche—which has found suspects attempting to defraud Medicaid and Medicare of millions of dollars by illegally selling prescriptions for opioid painkiller medications. Money laundering was also involved.
Officials report that the drug ring had managed to sell tens of millions of dollars worth of such pills over several years.
Doctors Lazar Feygin and Paul McClung, as well as office managers Vyacheslav Maksakov, Konstantin Zeva, Pavel Krasnou, and Rachel Smolitsky received charges of running three medical clinics, in Brooklyn, which were engaged in various criminal activities. Allegedly, these clinics defrauded Medicaid and Medicare by billion millions of dollars worth of unnecessary medical tests. In order to get patients to comply with the stcheme, Feygin and McClung (and other practitioners they had hired) are accused of illegally providing patients with prescriptions of opioid painkiller medications—like oxycodone—without explicit, legitimate medical purposes.
DEA Special Agent James J Hunt explains, “Hidden within our city were three pill mills disguised as medical clinics, seven drug dealers disguised as medical practitioners and a multi-million dollar scam defrauding NYC’s healthcare fund. We estimate that these pill mills distributed six million diverted pills, worth $60 to $100 million, into the hands of drug dealers and opioid addicts. This four-year investigation will have a significant impact on the availability of diverted prescription pills which are reported to have been misused by 80 percent of new heroin users.”
The Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor focused on three medical clinics in Brooklyn. Throughout these three clinics, 13 individuals and 2 corporate entities received indictments that total upwards of 477 counts of fourth-degree conspiracy, criminal sale of a prescription for a controlled substance, first-degree, and second-degree conspiracy, criminal sale of a prescription for a controlled substance, first-degree and second-degree health care fraud, first-degree and second-degree grand larceny, petty larceny, first-degree offering a false instrument for filing, first-degree falsifying business records, firs-degree and second-degree and fourth-degree money laundering, scheming to defraud, and scheming to defraud by unlawfully selling prescriptions.
Port Washington Police Chief James Salerno warrants, “This investigation epitomizes law enforcement collaboration on a common goal. State, local and federal law enforcement agencies worked together to stop the illegal sales of addictive opioid painkillers and other associated criminal activity.”