The former owner of a Richmond Highway pharmacy pleaded guilty in federal court earlier this week to illegally filling and dispensing medications, including opioids, as well as committing health insurance fraud.
Latif Mohamed Chowdhury, aka Gulam Latif Chaudhury, owned and operated the Alexandria Care Pharmacy in the Marcel Center at 8830 Richmond Highway (see map) between February 2013 and February 2016. He also operated a second pharmacy on Carlin Springs Road in Arlington.
A statement of facts that Chowdhury agreed to as part of his plea deal said he was not a licensed pharmacist in Virginia or elsewhere, and forged a real pharmacist’s signature to distribute a number of painkillers, including some of the most strictly regulated medications.
“[Chowdhury] did unlawfully, knowingly, and intentionally distribute Schedule II controlled substances, including oxycodone, methadone, morphine, hydromorphone, oxymorphone, hydrocodone, and amphetamine salts,” the statement of facts said.
Federal authorities say Chowdhury admitted to fraudulently billing insurance companies as well the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Approximately 50 percent of Chowdhury’s business for the Route 1 pharmacy involved submitting false health insurance claims, according to prosecutors.
Documents show that Chowdhury made nearly $500,000 between August 2015 and February 2016 through fraudulently filled and dispensed medications. He has been ordered to forfeit the money.
Chowdhury is also said to have filled prescriptions for highly addictive drugs in the Schedule II category for children.
“Furthermore, on several occasions, Chowdhury dispensed Schedule II controlled substances in the names of minors, including children as young as 7 and 8-years-old, outside the usual course of professional practice,” court documents said. “During the execution of a search warrant, a loaded Colt .38-caliber firearm that belonged to Chowdhury was located in plain view on the pharmacy department shelves.”
Chowdhury, 28, faces up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced in September.