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New York doctors, clinic staff indicted in alleged 'pill mill' Medicare fraud ring that funneled millions of narcotics to black market

Dubbed 'Operation Avalanche,' alleged fraud ring involved three Brooklyn clinics, illegal oxycodone prescriptions, fraudulent Medicare claims.

Beth Jones Sanborn, Managing Editor

Three doctors, medical and clinic staff, and even a former New York State Assemblyman are among those charged in a multi-faceted fraud ring involving three Brooklyn clinics that authorities said pumped more than six million narcotic painkillers into the black market and spawned millions in fraudulent Medicare claims, the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor for New York City said in a statement.

The 13 people indicted face a variety of charges including conspiracy, healthcare fraud, money laundering, and criminal sale of a prescription for controlled substances.

Physicians Lazar Feygin and Paul Mcclung, as well as other clinic staff are charged with running three medical clinics in Brooklyn that allegedly defrauded Medicaid and Medicare by billing for millions of dollars in unnecessary medical tests, which patients were convinced to submit to in exchange for oxycodone prescriptions which were not medically necessary, the Special Narcotics Prosecutor's office said.

"As the main alleged architect of these alleged schemes, Feygin enjoyed a lavish lifestyle that included extensive real estate holdings, frequent trips overseas and the regular purchase of luxury goods."

[Also: Running list of notable 2017 healthcare frauds]

Multiple agencies, including the Prosecutor's office, DEA, and Brooklyn District Attorney's office worked on the investigation, dubbed "Operation Avalanche," which began in 2013 with a group of doctor shoppers, or individuals seeking narcotics from willing physicians. Investigators said these shoppers were known to frequent Feygin's clinics, which served as "highly prolific" oxycodone "pill mills," or medical practices that make money by illegally selling prescriptions. The clinics were Parkville Medical Health and LF Medical Services of NY.

Feygin and his co-defendants allegedly prescribed "large quantities" of medically unnecessary oxycodone to patients and ordered medical tests that also weren't needed, authorities said. After a while, Mcclung and others broke off from the original operation and formed a third clinic called PM Medical, which followed a similar pattern, the Prosecutor's office said.

[Also: Eight Texans indicted in $158 million healthcare fraud scheme involving pricey compound pain medications]

"Feygin and other indicted staff members of Parkville and LF Medical were allegedly responsible for prescribing over 3.7 million oxycodone pills between early 2012 and early 2017 and ordering reimbursed procedures, generating over $16 million in revenue. Indicted PM Medical practitioners prescribed over 2.6 million pills between mid-2013 and early 2017, and ordered reimbursed procedures generating more than $8 million in revenue," the Special Prosecutor's office said.

The three clinics are said to have netted more than $24 million in reimbursements from Medicaid and Medicare between early 2013 and early 2017.

[Also: Texas doctor convicted in $40 million Medicare home health fraud, faces decades in prison]

Starting in late 2016, most of the drug urinalyses ordered by Feygin's clinics were handled by Alec Brook-Krasny, a former New York State Assemblyman affiliated with Quality Laboratory Services. He is charged with directing unnecessary laboratory testing , services for which Quality Laboratory Services was reimbursed by Medicaid and Medicare, as well as facilitating the alteration of laboratory test results so that opioids could be described, authorities said.

Twitter: @BethJSanborn

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