N.J. Pharmacist Pleads Guilty to $82,000 Medicaid Fraud

June 6, 2003

New Jersey’s Acting Attorney General Peter Harvey announced that a Passaic County pharmacist has pled guilty to Health Care Claims Fraud for reportedly billing the federal Medicaid Program more than $82,100 for prescriptions that were never distributed to Medicaid recipients.

The Medicaid Program, which is funded by the state and federal governments and administered by the State of New Jersey through the Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services, provides health care services and prescription drugs to persons who may not otherwise be able to afford such services and medicines.

According to Vaughn McKoy, Acting Director, Division of Criminal Justice and Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Greta Gooden Brown, Matthew Faenza, 64, of Ringwood, pled guilty before Passaic County Superior Court Judge Ernest Caposela to an Accusation which charged one count of Health Care Claims Fraud (2nd degree). A second degree crime carries a maximum penalty of up to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000. Additionally, the case will be referred to the Pharmacy Board for appropriate action regarding Faenza’s pharmacy license. Faenza is scheduled to appear before Judge Caposela on Sept. 12 for sentencing.

At the guilty plea hearing, Faenza, a licensed pharmacist who owned and operated McDermott Pharmacy in Paterson, reportedly admitted billing the Medicaid Program for dispensing drugs to Medicaid patients when, in fact, no drugs were dispensed.

The drug most commonly involved in the phony Medicaid transactions was Serostim, an expensive drug used to treat persons infected with HIV.

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