News


South Florida woman charged in large drug diversion scheme involving Medicaid program

11/7/2008
 
A South Florida woman has been arrested by Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) special agents on charges she allegedly defrauded the state's Medicaid program of more than $1 million by reselling Medicaid recipients' medications and then laundering the proceeds.

Lissett Aleman, 37, of Hialeah, was arrested earlier today at her home and charged with one count of trafficking in contraband legend drugs, one count of conspiracy to traffic in contraband legend drugs, purchase of legend drugs by an unauthorized person and one count of money laundering.

According to authorities, Aleman set up a drug wholesale business in New Jersey called Athys Pharmaceuticals. That company obtained medications by buying them from unlicensed people in Florida, authorities said. Agents said those unlicensed wholesalers originally had purchased the drugs from Florida Medicaid recipients who sold their Medicaid-supplied medications for a fraction of their actual cost.

Once Aleman's company obtained the medications, they were resold to pharmacies and other wholesalers across the country. Aleman wrote checks to Florida shell corporations to purchase the medications and then allegedly laundered the proceeds through check cashing stores in Miami-Dade and Broward counties. Investigators said the fraudulent scheme defrauded the state's Medicaid program out of more than $1 million.

The 10-month investigation was conducted by the Stone Cold Task Force, which is a multi-agency task force that includes authorities from FDLE, the Miami-Dade Police Department, Attorney General Bill McCollum's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the Office of Statewide Prosecution. The case will be prosecuted by the Attorney General's Office of Statewide Prosecution and if convicted on the charges, Aleman faces up to 15 to 30 years in prison on the various counts.

For more information, contact:

Paige Patterson-Hughes
Public Information Officer
FDLE - Miami
(954) 958-5400