By David North, June 16, 2014
This is a story of how a highly prosperous — for a while — retail pharmacist cheated the Medicare and Medicaid programs out of millions with one hand, while chiseling his own H-1B workers with the other.
It is another account of multiple misuses of immigration and other federal programs, all by the same co-conspirators.
Currently on trial in federal courts in Maryland for repeated violations of the Medicare and Medicaid systems are the owner of Pharmacare LLC, a chain of drug stores, and two of his employees; they are, respectively, Reddy Vijay Annappareddy, Jigar Patel, and Vipinkumar Patel.
News reports and an FBI press release indicate that the accused filled renewals of Medicare and Medicaid prescriptions, whether they were requested or not, charged the feds for them, and then resold the goods if the refills were not sought by the clients, stealing $2.4 million in this manner.
Unfortunately, cheating these systems is all too common, but what was interesting in this case was that Pharmacare also made heavy use of the H-1B program, as Neil Munro of the Daily Caller pointed out to me.
Over a period of two years, 65 workers, mostly pharmacists, were sought in this way for Pharmacare's outlets, as this website notes.
The owner, not content with his ill-gotten millions, paid $50,626 a year to the H-1B workers sought in 2012, and $63,290 annually the following year.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics says $116,670 was the average pharmacist salary for 2012.
That's a difference of more than $50,000 a year!
It's too bad that the H-1B people in one part of DoL don't have to pay attention to what is known in BLS, another part of the same department, but Congress has made no effort to protect American workers from the wage-cutting impacts of the H-1B program.