Medicaid fraud scheme also charged
Kings County District Attorney's Office
Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes on Wednesday announced the arrests of five people on charges of selling heroin, cocaine and guns out of a neighborhood pharmacy.
Three of those arrested worked at Malik Pharmacy at 2981 Fulton St. Two of the employees (along with the other man and woman who did not work at the pharmacy) organized sales of heroin, cocaine and guns from inside the store, according to the charges. The third employee allegedly ran a Medicaid fraud scheme from behind the pharmacy counter.
The arrests were made on Monday, May 20.
“The commitment of resources that resulted in Monday’s arrests is representative of my office’s longstanding commitment to those Brooklyn residents and Brooklyn taxpayers who rightfully demand safety as they enjoy our thriving business and residential communities, and who demand a public health care system with integrity,” said Hynes.
Charles “Slim” Payne, 52, was a security employee at the store. According to the investigation, Payne would sell heroin inside the store. He also allegedly used the location as a base for negotiating deals for selling and delivering heroin, cocaine and guns to locations close to the pharmacy. Investigators allege that if a buyer wanted a larger amount of heroin then Payne had available, he would drive to his home at 1534 Prospect Place, where he stashed larger amounts.
When the undercover wanted to purchase guns, Payne allegedly contacted fellow drugstore security employee, Jowen “Sean” Bellafonte, to supply them. Bellafonte, 25, would allegedly hand off the weapons in front of his home at 263 Linwood St.
According to detectives working for the District Attorney’s Office, between December 2012 and May 15, 2013, Payne and Bellafonte sold a Rugger .22-caliber handgun, a Lorchin .25-caliber handgun and a loaded Hi-point.380 handgun with 28 additional rounds of ammunition. They also allegedly sold an “eight-ball” of cocaine to the undercover.
For other large purchases of cocaine, Payne would allegedly enlist another co-conspirator, Robert “Green Eyes” Nunez, 31. Payne would allegedly call Nunez with the order. It is alleged Nunez would show up in his SUV at a designated location on Elton Street, near the pharmacy, and would hand the cocaine to the buyer through the window of his car. On one occasion, his wife, Ericka Nunez, 33, allegedly participated in the sale.
As part of the healthcare fraud investigation, the D.A.’s Healthcare Fraud Division also charged that the fourth defendant, Mohammed Amir Malik, 37, believed to be the nephew of the pharmacy’s owner, allegedly spearheaded a fraudulent scheme to defraud Medicaid by billing for prescriptions never dispensed.
Javed I. Malik, the owner and pharmacist of record, is not a defendant.
Amir was employed as a pharmacy technician, although investigators allege Amir pretended to be a licensed pharmacist, giving advice to an undercover investigator about the interactions between various medications. The investigation found no record of Amir attending pharmacy school or being a legally registered and licensed pharmacist.
Undercover operations conducted between January 7, 2013, and May 3, 2013, revealed that on five separate occasions, Amir allegedly repeatedly bought prescriptions and refills from an undercover investigator without dispensing any medications. The prescriptions were for popular drugs such as Zovirax, Advair, Seroquel, Abilify, Spiriva and Acyclovir.
According to investigators, Amir gave the undercover a “wish list” of which drugs he wanted prescriptions of for future sales and warned the undercover not to tell anyone else about the lucrative opportunity he was providing.
Amir is charged with several counts of grand larceny, attempted grand larceny, unauthorized practice of a profession and criminal diversion of prescriptions.
Payne, Bellafonte, and Mr. and Mrs. Nunez are charged with numerous counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance.