Pharma marketing company execs plead guilty to $38M insurance fraud scheme

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NEWARK, N.J. (1010 WINS) — The owners of a New Jersey pharmaceutical marketing company pleaded guilty to a scheme in which they conspired with patients and pharmacies to defraud insurance companies out of $38 million, the Department of Justice announced on Tuesday.

Samantha Zaretzky, 42, and Lee Nichols, 43, used their company Synergy Medical LLC to file fraudulent insurance claims for expensive compounded medications.

Compounded medications are custom-made medicines mixed by a pharmacist ailments that no FDA-approved existing medication can address.

From April 2014 to June 2016, the two defendants used sales representatives to recruit patients willing to obtain expensive compound medications through prescriptions written by collaborating health care professionals.

They would determine which ingredients were the most lucrative and connect the patients with a health care company they paid for consulting.

On at least one occasion, the two defendants paid a nurse with an inactive license to write prescriptions.

Once a prescription was obtained, Zaretzky and Nichols ensured it was filled at a pharmacy that paid them a kickback for giving them extra business.

The defendants each face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to twice the amount made off the scheme.

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