9 sentenced in $172 million scheme over fraudulent medicines

FILE- In this Aug. 5, 2010, file photo, a pharmacy tech poses for a picture with prescription medication at a pharmacy in Edmond, Okla. November is typically open enrollment time for millions who get health insurance, disability insurance and other benefits from an employer. If you’re one of them, among your important choices is whether you want a flexible spending account and how much money to deposit. You can spend FSA money only on “qualified medical expenses,” which are determined by the IRS. The money comes out of your paycheck pretax, in regular increments.(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)

MIAMI (AP) – Nine people are headed to federal prison after pleading guilty to a South Florida-based, $172 million scheme involving fraudulent medications.

Federal prosecutors said Friday that prison sentences ranging from 15 years to two years were imposed. The defendants were also ordered to forfeit about $30 million in ill-gotten gains.

Authorities say the scheme involved preparation of medications in bulk quantities that were supposedly for specific patient needs. The scammers told health insurance providers falsely that the medicine was prepared in limited quantities and exempt from Food and Drug Administration inspection.

The health insurance providers paid for the costs of the ingredients for the medicines. The scheme also involved paying kickbacks to doctors, mass call centers to solicit patients and other fraud techniques.

Seven more defendants will plead guilty later.

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