Several individuals are facing charges for their alleged roles in a health care fraud scheme that took place in Brooklyn and other areas, United States Attorney Breon Peace announced this week.
Brian Michael Sutton, 31, Moscow, Russia; Brycen Kay Millett, 33, Saint George, Utah; Anthony Santamaria, 31, North Hollywood, California; Joshua Manuel Alegria, 32, Woodland Hills, California; Hershel Tsikman, 30, Studio City, California; and Hafizullah Ebady, 45, Parsippany, New Jersey have all been indicted for conspiracy to commit health care fraud, health care fraud, and money laundering conspiracy.
According to Peace, the group of men allegedly orchestrated an international scheme that spanned from 2017 to 2022.
During that time, the individuals were alleged to have laundered millions of dollars in fraudulent proceeds (using aliases to hide their identities), which they used to acquire several pharmacies through straw owners across multiple cities and states, including Brooklyn, Staten Island, Manhattan, Long Island, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and more.
Using a combination of the unscrupulous pharmacies with overseas call centers — which operated out of Russia and other foreign nations — the group’s alleged scheme reportedly convinced several Americans to accept unnecessary medications, which resulted in over $500 million in fraudulent prescriptions to be filled, according to court filings.
“As alleged, the defendants orchestrated a massive international scheme to defraud American businesses out of hundreds of millions of dollars and attempted to hide behind multiple aliases, shell companies and straw owners,” said United States Attorney Peace.
“Fraudulent healthcare billing drives up the cost of medical services for all those who need it. We will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute those who take advantage of health care plans.”
Santamaria, Alegria, and Tsikman have all been arrested and were arraigned in Los Angeles federal court this week. Millett and Ebady were also detained, and will make a court appearance on a later date. Sutton, who is believed to reside in Moscow, has not been arrested at this time, according to Peace.