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Twin West Orange Pharmacists Plead Guilty to Health Care Fraud

Brothers cheated customers, insurance companies out of more than $1.5 million, feds alleged.

Written By Ariana Cohn-Sheehan

A pair of twin brothers and pharmacists who had owned the West Orange Pharmacy pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday to committing health care fraud, cheating customers and insurance companies out of more than $1.5 million over a 15-year period, according to federal authorities.

Robert Carlucci and William Carlucci, both 69 and both residents of Florham Park, pleaded guilty on the charges separately and could serve maximum penalties of 10 years in prison and be forced to pay up to $250,000 each in fines if convicted, according to U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman.

The pharmacists have also agreed to pay restitution of $1.5 million as part of their guilty pleas, with Robert Carlucci forfeiting $849,568 and William Carlucci forfeiting $558,717, according to Fishman.

The Carluccis worked together with an unnamed alleged conspirator on several schemes to make a profit from Medicaid, other insurance companies and customers by under-filling prescriptions and charging the companies the full amount, Fishman said in a press release. The pharmacists would also substitute generic drugs for brand-name drugs but charge the companies the higher costs of the brand-name medications, Fishman said.

Separate fraud schemes were recorded through the use of specific codes developed by the pharmacists and inputted into the West Orange Pharmacy computer system, according to Fishman. At times when the pharmacy would lose money on a prescription, the alleged conspirators would seek additional costs to bill insurance companies and Medicaid, Fishman said.

Additionally, Fishman said the pharmacists would purchase drugs from wholesalers at discounted prices while charging customers and insurance companies the full retail price and would buy back drugs from customers, reusing the drugs to sell to other customers.

The pharmacy was to be sold to new owners last year after another former part-owner, Leonard “Lenny” Stefanelli, 48, of East Hanover, was charged with selling oxycodone without prescriptions to customers by the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration. The pharmacy was purchased by Stefanelli in 2008.

The Carluccis are scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 12.


hugh lindsay August 06, 2013 at 03:45 PM
the 3 of them should rot in jail till they die
Loren Svetvilas August 06, 2013 at 08:11 PM
...without access to medicaid, or pharmaceutical meds :)
Lisa Toriello August 07, 2013 at 04:55 PM
I am in shock. I worked there during high school and my while I was in college. Great memories. Many years ago, but I can't believe it. :( Horrible news.
Steven Serebrenik August 07, 2013 at 05:11 PM
Terrible story!! I AM IN FAVOR OF TEACHING ETHICS COURSES AT EVERY GRADE LEVEL SO AS TO TEACH OUR YOUTH ABOUT HONESTY, INTEGRITY, AND RESPECT. DRILL IT INTO THIS YOUNGER GENERATION'S HEADS IF WE CARE ABOUT AVERTING A MORAL COLLAPSE IN OUR SOCIETY. OVERSTATING THE PROBLEM...I DON'T THINK SO.

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