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Twin pharmacists plead guilty to health care fraud

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -- Twin brothers who once owned a northern New Jersey pharmacy have admitted reaping at least $1.5 million in illicit gains by defrauding patients, Medicaid and insurance companies for the past 15 years.

Federal prosecutors say Robert and William Carlucci, both 69-year-old Florham Park residents, pleaded guilty Tuesday to separate complaints charging them with conspiring to commit health care fraud. They each face up to 10 years in prison when they are sentenced Nov. 12.

The brothers previously owned the West Orange Pharmacy. Along with another unnamed conspirator, they participated in a variety of schemes designed to cheat customers and bilk insurance companies.

Among the schemes they used were under-filling prescriptions and then billing Medicaid and other insurance companies for the fully filled prescription.

Without informing the patients, the conspirators also substituted generic drugs for the brand-name drugs prescribed by the patients' physicians. Then they billed Medicaid and other insurance companies for the full amount of the brand-name drugs.

The conspirators also filled outstanding refills on a given prescription without the patients' knowledge, then billed Medicaid and the private insurers for the refills.

The conspirators purchased prescription drugs from non-licensed wholesalers at a substantial discount to the drugs' wholesale price, then dispensed these discounted drugs to patients and billed Medicaid and private insurers for the full costs associated with the drugs.