Viewpoint: The wrong prescription for growing your income

March 10, 2008

Two IRS criminal investigators caution pharmacists about healthcare fraud.

So please read these words of caution in the spirit in which they are intended – as a humble reminder against committing any kind of healthcare fraud. An ounce of prevention is still worth a pound of cure.

An example from the public record

"The three others involved in the scheme have already pleaded guilty. One of the co-conspirators, Oleg Ordinartsev, admitted in his plea agreement that he submitted false paperwork to Medicaid hiding Milman's ownership role. Ordinartsev pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Health Care Fraud on July 6, 2007. Vladimir Mitkovetski admits in his plea agreement that he lied to government investigators, claiming he was the sole owner of Lakeshore Pharmacy and that he was simply purchasing equipment from Milman. Under Milman 's direction, Mitkovetski created false paperwork to hide Milman's ownership of Lakeshore Pharmacy. Mitkovetski pleaded guilty to making a false statement on June 19, 2007. Valentina Milman pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Health Care Fraud and Conspiracy to Launder Money on December 7, 2006."

IRS Criminal Investigation's role

During the 2005 through 2007 fiscal years, our agency initiated over 12,300 criminal investigations nationwide. In those same three fiscal years, over 200 people nationwide were sentenced for various crimes related to healthcare fraud, which IRS helped investigate. The average sentence for those 200+ individuals was approximately 35 months of incarceration, which is defined as federal prison, time spent in a halfway house, home detention, or some combination thereof. Restitution in the amount of the fraud is required as a matter of law.

Healthcare fraud, in any form, hurts real people. So please don't let yourself be tempted by making a fast buck through such means, because you just might be kicking your local IRS special agent into action.

KENNETH HINES is the IRS Special Agent in Charge of the Pacific-Northwest. DANIEL WARDLAW is an IRS Special Agent and Public Information Officer for the Pacific-Northwest.