By: Najla Alexander
Image by: Google
A pharmacy employee today admitted conspiring to offer and pay bribes and kickbacks in exchange for having prescriptions steered to the Morris County pharmacy where he worked, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger reported.
Federal officials say Srinivasa Raju, 51, of Haskell, pled guilty by videoconference before U.S. District Judge Michael A. Shipp to an information charging him with conspiring to violate the federal anti-kickback statute.
According to authorities, Magdalena Jimenez, 58, of Newark, previously pleaded guilty to a parallel bribery and kickback scheme involving the same pharmacy.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Raju had various responsibilities at the Morris County pharmacy, including coordinating prescription deliveries and soliciting business officials said.
Authorities say from January 2019 through February 2021, Raju worked with other pharmacy personnel to pay kickbacks and bribes to medical employees in two different doctors’ offices in Jersey City, New Jersey.
In exchange, those employees steered numerous high-value prescriptions to the pharmacy where Raju worked, officials say.
Raju and his conspirators paid as much as $150 for each prescription and used various tactics to conceal many of those bribe payments.
Overall, the pharmacy received over $2.4 million in Medicare reimbursement payments based on prescriptions derived from the kickback scheme officials said.
The conspiracy charge is punishable by a maximum of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss derived from the offense, whichever is greater.
Sentencing for Raju is scheduled for May 16, 2023, authorities report.
U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the FBI under Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy in Newark, and special agents of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Thomas Mahoney, with the investigation leading to the guilty pleas.