Acting United States Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow informed Historic City News that 40-year-old Dino Ajloni of St Augustine pled guilty to healthcare fraud for his role in a fraudulent compound pharmacy scheme. He faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison.
According to the plea agreement, Ajloni, a graduate of Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, was the operator of Wellness Pharmacy in St Augustine since January 2014. He performed various jobs at Wellness Pharmacy, including marketing prescriptions, recruiting physicians to write and fill prescriptions, and other jobs.
Ajloni relied on marketers to help recruit patients to get their prescriptions filled at his pharmacy. One of these marketers brought his own family to Wellness Pharmacy and obtained numerous prescriptions; receiving nearly $200,000 in government reimbursement. Ajloni admitted paying the marketer almost $50,000 for the referrals, in violation of the Anti-Kickback statute.
Ajloni also recruited patients himself. For example, he offered patients access to “anything in the store” if they agreed to receive compound prescription drugs. At other times, he offered gift baskets, with chocolate, deodorant, nuts, and other accessories, to patients that accepted compounded prescriptions.
In 2016, TRICARE developed suspicions regarding the legitimacy of these compound prescriptions when the doctor who wrote them never billed for the patient visits. During an audit, Ajloni and others made a variety of false and misleading statements. Among other things, Ajloni stated that all patients paid co-pays, no patient was offered anything of value to receive prescriptions, and that Wellness Pharmacy called the doctor prior to dispensing the prescriptions. The TRICARE audit revealed that Ajloni received $1,916,206.97 in healthcare reimbursement that he was not entitled to receive.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jason Mehta.