UPDATE: Queens Pharmacy Owner Sentenced to Three-Year Prison Term for Health Care Fraud and Illegal Opioid Distribution

Published Date

The owner of a Queens pharmacy charged in September 2020 as part of the OMIG-assisted national health care fraud takedown was sentenced today to 36 months in prison for his participation in a health care fraud conspiracy, distribution of Oxycodone and illegal financial transactions.

Harris Hussnain, 41, of Queens, N.Y. was sentenced in Brooklyn federal court by U.S. District Court Judge Rachel P. Kovner after pleading guilty to the charges in September 2020.

“Today’s sentencing is proof positive of the effectiveness of the strong partnerships that exist among city, state, and federal program integrity agencies and law enforcement organizations in combatting those that have fueled the opioid crisis in our communities,” stated Acting Medicaid Inspector General Walsh. “The message is abundantly clear to anyone who seeks to line their pockets by exploiting the Medicaid program, particularly at these challenging times: you will be caught and held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”

Prosecutors accused Hussnain of falsely claiming to be the pharmacist at New Moon Pharmacy in South Richmond Hill, when he was only the pharmacy’s owner. Despite not being a licensed pharmacist permitted to dispense prescription medications to patients, investigators determined that Hussnain dispensed prescription medications from July 2016 to December 2019, including more than 10,000 Oxycodone pills, without medical oversight. During this time, New Moon Pharmacy fraudulently received approximately $3 million in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement for the dispensed medications.

In addition, Hussnain paid a co-conspirator, Nisha Diler, a licensed pharmacist, to act as the full-time pharmacist, resulting in Hussnain and Diler filing falsified paperwork with the State to cover up Diler’s actual absences from New Moon Pharmacy.

View the full press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of New York.

New York State Office of the Medicaid Inspector General

Our mission is to enhance the integrity of the New York State Medicaid program by preventing and detecting fraudulent, abusive, and wasteful practices within the Medicaid program and recovering improperly expended Medicaid funds while promoting high-quality patient care.

Contact us: OMIG, 800 North Pearl Street, Albany, NY 12204. Phone:(518) 473-3782; Fax: (518) 474-6773; Fraud Hotline: 1-(877) 87-FRAUD/1-(877) 873-7283

For more news and information, like OMIG on Facebook and follow us on Twitter: @nysomig