New Jersey Doctor Charged with Running Pill Mill and Attempting to Burn It Down
PHILADELPHIA—Dr. Mudassar Sharif, 40, of Bernards Township, NJ, was charged yesterday by indictment with illegally dispensing prescription pills through Garden State Primary Care, which he owned, in Kearny, NJ, announced United States Attorney Zane David Memeger. Sharif is also charged with trying to set fire to the building that houses the medical practice.
According to the indictment, on February 12, 2015, Sharif knowingly dispensed and distributed, outside the usual course of professional practice and for no legitimate medical purpose, a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of oxycodone. According to a criminal complaint, Sharif has been providing medically unnecessary prescriptions to a Cooperating Witness (CW#1) since November of 2012 when Sharif traveled to CW#1’s residence to sell CW#1 a dog. Sharif did not perform any medical examination before writing the prescription. Sharif allegedly began providing oxycodone prescriptions to CW#1, once a month, for $500 for each prescription. Other than on two occasions, Sharif allegedly traveled to Philadelphia to give the prescriptions to CW#1. It is further alleged that Sharif wrote the prescriptions in five or six names provided by CW#1 and eventually began to sell oxycodone pills to CW#1 in addition to the prescriptions. According to the criminal complaint, Sharif currently charges $15 per pill and $3,000 for prescriptions.
According to the criminal complaint, Sharif began talking to CW#l about burning down Sharif’s office building, located at 711 Kearney Avenue, in Kearney, NJ, in order to destroy his files because he was having an issue with Medicare or Medicaid. Sharif allegedly agreed that in exchange for CW#l burning down his office, CW#l would not have to pay Sharif for 300 pills he had already provided to CW#l. Sharif allegedly told CW#l that no one lived in his building and no one would be in the office when CW#l committed the arson. According to the criminal complaint, Sharif claimed that a disabled woman who lived near his office would be fine and, later, when CW#l commented that the whole building would go up in flames and the lady would be dead, Sharif did not protest.
If convicted of all charges, Sharif faces a mandatory minimum term of 60 months in prison with an advisory sentencing guideline range of 108 to 135 months in prison, plus fines of up to $1.25 million, at least three years of supervised release up to a lifetime of supervised release.
This case was investigated by the FBI’s Health Care Fraud Task Force with the assistance of the Philadelphia Police Department and the Office of Inspector General for Health and Human Services. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Jose Arteaga and Mary Kay Costello.