For Immediate Release - April 27, 2011

Former Roxbury Pharmacist Pleads Guilty in Connection with Stealing Over $550,000 From MassHealth

BOSTON - A former Roxbury pharmacist has pled guilty to defrauding the Massachusetts Medicaid Program (MassHealth) of over $555,000 by fraudulently billing for medications that were never prescribed by a doctor or dispensed from his Egleston Square Pharmacy, Attorney General Martha Coakley's Office announced today.

Aloysius Chukwukere Nsonwu, age 65, of Roslindale, pled guilty in Suffolk Superior Court to the charges of Medicaid False Claims (25 counts), Larceny by False Pretenses (25 counts), and Conspiracy. On February 16, 2011, Nsonwu pled guilty in Federal Court to similar charges in another case. Nsonwu will be sentenced on his Suffolk Superior case after sentencing in his federal case, which is scheduled for June 17, 2011.

In 2007, the Attorney General's Office began an investigation after the matter was referred by MassHealth's Provider Compliance unit. Nsonwu was the owner and sole officer of Egleston Square Pharmacy, Inc., located in Roxbury and is an eligible MassHealth provider. Investigators discovered that from December 2004 through January 2009, Nsonwu submitted claims for dispensing the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) medications Epivir, Zerit, and Viramune to MassHealth using the identification numbers of 25 different MassHealth patients. Each claim listed a prescribing physician who never treated those patients or prescribed those medications. Based on these false claims, MassHealth reimbursements totaling $555,502.11 were deposited into Nsonwu's Egleston Square Pharmacy bank account.

As a result of the AG's investigation, the Massachusetts Board of Pharmacy suspended Nsonwu's license to practice pharmacy in March.

On May 20, 2010, a Suffolk County Grand Jury returned indictments against Nsonwu. He was arraigned in Suffolk Superior Court on June 1, 2010, and released on $50,000 cash bail. Nsonwu pled guilty to all charges in his Suffolk Superior Court case on April 22, 2011. He is currently being held in Federal custody pending his sentencing on June 17, 2011.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Evelyn Y. Tang and was investigated by Investigator Brian Robinson, both of AG Coakley's Medicaid Fraud Division, with assistance from Massachusetts State Police assigned to the AG's Office. Ashley Cinelli was the Victim Witness Advocate. The Boston Office of the United States Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, the United States Attorney's Office, the Massachusetts State Police, and the United States Marshals Service all assisted in the investigation.