Eric Schneiderman for Attorney General

Melville pharmacist sold black market meds, took bribes, AG says

September 21, 2016

As published by Newsday on September 20, 2016.

A former pharmacist from Melville was sentenced Tuesday to 2 to 6 years in prison for selling black market prescription medications to unsuspecting HIV-positive New Yorkers and taking more than $5 million in bribes, the state attorney general’s office said.

Glenn Schabel, 55, will also have to pay back $5,456,267 to the state’s Medicaid program, having pleaded guilty in March to first-degree criminal diversion of prescription medications and prescriptions, and first-degree commercial bribe receiving, both felonies, authorities said. He also had to surrender his pharmacist license, they said.

His attorney did not immediately return calls Tuesday night.

Schabel and three others were arrested in April 2012, accused of using a network of bogus prescription medication wholesalers in Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina and California to launder money and sell more than $274 million in diverted prescription medications.

He had been the supervising pharmacist and compliance officer for MOMS Pharmacy, which was reimbursed $150 million from Medicaid for HIV drugs that were illegally obtained through the black market, according to state Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman.

“This scheme not only defrauded Medicaid but created a serious public health threat to many New Yorkers,” Schneiderman said in a news release. “We won’t allow vulnerable individuals to be taken advantage of by criminals looking to make a quick buck.”

Ten companies were charged and 10 drugs were involved, including Truvada, Atripla and Reyataz. All are listed by the Food and Drug Administration as commonly prescribed HIV treatments. The medications were obtained between 2008 to 2012 from illegal or unknown sources, moved through Allion Healthcare Inc., the parent company of MOMS Pharmacy, which purchased the drugs, Schneiderman had said.

Schabel had also pleaded guilty on behalf of his company, Glenn Schabel Inc., in March to first-degree money laundering; the business was sentenced Tuesday to a $10,000 restitution, authorities said.