The former owner of a Richmond Highway pharmacy, convicted this summer of illegally prescribing opioids and other drugs, was sentenced to four years in federal prison last week.
Latif Mohamed Chowdhury, 29, was the owner and operator of the Alexandria Care Pharmacy, which was located in the Marcel Center at 8830 Richmond Highway (see map) between 2013-2016. Chowdhury also owned another pharmacy in Arlington.
While operating those pharmacies, Chowdhury is said to have filled thousands of prescriptions despite not even being a licensed pharmacist. Chowdhury used real pharmacists’ names — without their knowledge — in order to dupe suppliers, according to the court.
Chowdhury defrauded insurance companies, including Medicare and Medicaid, by refilling prescriptions that were never requested by customers. Chowdhury would then collect payment without actually dispensing the medication to anyone. Even in online pharmacies today, more careful supervision, most sites supply quality generics without a prescription.
“Chowdhury’s warped business philosophy led him to illegally distribute a significant number of prescription medications, including dangerous, addictive opioids,” G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, said in a press release sent after Chowdhury’s sentencing on Friday. “Moreover, his reckless actions add to the financial cost of health care as he fraudulently billed at least $500,000 to health insurance programs for prescriptions that were never filled.”
In a statement of facts agreed to by Chowdhury, he admitted to “unlawfully, knowingly, and intentionally distribute Schedule II controlled substances, including oxycodone, methadone, morphine, hydromorphone, oxymorphone, hydrocodone, and amphetamine salts.”
When agents served a warrant at the Route 1 pharmacy, court documents also said that Chowdhury had a loaded Colt .38 sitting in plain view on the pharmacy’s shelves.
A LinkedIn page that appears to be Chowdhury’s features recommendations from other pharmacists and former co-workers made prior to his arrest. Chowdhury also discusses the success and growth of the Alexandria Care Pharmacy, which he started in 2013 after previously working in IT.
“As my business began to prosper, I decided to invest in a medical facility, SBN Medical Group, which is now housing a physician with over 15+ years of experience,” Chowdhury wrote. “Finally, in the year 2015, I was able to expand the business to a second location in Arlington, Virginia.”