10 Defendants Indicted For Operating $20 Million Black Market HIV Medication Fraud Scheme

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Defendants Include Alleged Medication Wholesalers and Pharmacy Owners

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, James Smith, the Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), and Naomi Gruchacz, the Special Agent in Charge of the New York Regional Office of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (“HHS-OIG”), announced today the unsealing of Superseding Indictments charging BORIS AMINOV, CHRISTY CORVALAN, IRINA POLVANOVA, ROMAN SHAMALOV, JONATHAN GAVRIELOF, ANTONIO PAYANO, DAVID FERNANDEZ, CRYSTAL MEDINA, JUAN HERNANDEZ, a/k/a “Pop,” and ALBERT YAGUDAYEV, a/k/a “Jeff,” in connection with their participation in a years-long scheme to defraud Medicaid, Medicare, and private insurance companies out of at least approximately $20 million. POLVANOVA, SHAMALOV, and YAGUDAYEV were arrested this morning and GAVRIELOF was arrested yesterday evening. All four will be presented before Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge James L. Cott today. AMINOV, CORVALAN, FERNANDEZ, and MEDINA were previously arrested in connection with an earlier indictment in the case, which is assigned to U.S. District Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil. PAYANO and HERNANDEZ remain at large.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “As alleged, the defendants orchestrated a scheme to get rich by lying to Medicaid, Medicare, and private insurance companies and depriving vulnerable HIV patients of legitimate and safe medications. The defendants allegedly made millions of dollars through submitting fraudulent insurance claims, paying illegal kickbacks, and buying and selling black-market HIV medications. Today’s charges send a clear message that this Office will be tireless in its pursuit of those who seek to line their pockets by lying to federal agencies and preying on vulnerable members of society.”

FBI Assistant Director in Charge James Smith said: “For more than half a decade, the defendants allegedly operated a health care fraud scheme that defrauded taxpayer-funded medical programs. Black market medication frauds like this take advantage of vulnerable members of our community, exposing them to unnecessary risks. The FBI will make sure anyone attempting to illegally benefit from government health care programs is held accountable in the criminal justice system.”

HHS-OIG Special Agent in Charge Naomi Gruchacz said: “Health care fraud schemes that divert HIV medication harm patients who actually need the medication as well as put other patients at risk when black market medications are recirculated and dispensed by pharmacies participating in the scheme. HHS-OIG will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to hold accountable individuals who exploit federal health care programs for their own greed.”

According to the allegations contained in the Superseding Indictments:[1]

From at least in or about 2017 through at least in or about 2023, AMINOV, CORVALAN, POLVANOVA, SHAMALOV, PAYANO, FERNANDEZ, and MEDINA engaged in a scheme that defrauded Medicaid, Medicare, and private insurance companies out of at least approximately $20 million through trafficking in black-market HIV medication. In doing so, they exploited at least hundreds of low-income individuals who had been prescribed HIV medication, jeopardizing the health and safety of those vulnerable patients.

AMINOV and PAYANO distributed black-market HIV medications to pharmacies that were owned and operated by, among others, CORVALAN (the “Corvalan Pharmacies”), POLVANOVA (the “Polvanova Pharmacy”), and SHAMALOV (the “Shamalov Pharmacy”).

After purchasing black-market medication from AMINOV and PAYANO, CORVALAN, POLVANOVA, and SHAMALOV then dispensed that medication to patients of the Corvalan and Polvanova Pharmacies or otherwise distributed it to other pharmacies. FERNANDEZ and MEDINA were employees of the Corvalan Pharmacies who participated in the day-to-day operation of the scheme.

As part of the scheme, CORVALAN, POLVANOVA, FERNANDEZ, MEDINA, HERNANDEZ, and YAGUDAYEV also funded and paid illegal kickbacks to patients in order to recruit patients to their respective pharmacies. CORVALAN, POLVANOVA, FERNANDEZ, MEDINA, HERNANDEZ, and YAGUDAYEV regularly attempted to recruit new patients to increase the number of prescription medications for which the Pharmacies could fraudulently bill government insurance. CORVALAN, FERNANDEZ, and MEDINA also paid patients to sell back their HIV medications to the Corvalan Pharmacies, thereby inducing patients to forego using the medications they were prescribed.

From at least in or about 2021 through at least in or about October 2023, SHAMALOV and POLVANOVA engaged in a related scheme where they bought and then re-sold diverted black-market prescription HIV medication through online prescription drug marketplaces to other pharmacies around the country.

In order to further their schemes and conceal their proceeds, CORVALAN, POLVANOVA, and SHAMALOV used bank accounts associated with their respective pharmacies to funnel money to shell companies controlled by AMINOV.

The defendants spent the proceeds of the scheme to purchase luxury cars, including a 2021 Mercedes-Benz Maybach with an estimated fair market value of approximately $245,000; waterfront real-estate, including two properties in the Bronx purchased for a total of approximately $2.4 million; designer clothes; and jewelry and gold.

AMINOV, 47, of Brooklyn, New York, is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and health care fraud, which carries a maximum potential sentence of 20 years in prison; one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, which carries a maximum potential sentence of 20 years in prison; and one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, which carries a maximum potential sentence of five years in prison.

CORVALAN, 41, of the Bronx, New York, is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and health care fraud, which carries a maximum potential sentence of 20 years in prison; one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, which carries a maximum potential sentence of 20 years in prison; one count of conspiracy to violate the Anti-Kickback Statute, which carries a maximum potential sentence of five years in prison; and one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, which carries a maximum potential sentence of five years in prison.

POLVANOVA, 47, of Queens, New York, is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and health care fraud, which carries a maximum potential sentence of 20 years in prison; one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, which carries a maximum potential sentence of 20 years in prison; one count of conspiracy to violate the Anti-Kickback Statute, which carries a maximum potential sentence of five years in prison; one count of mail fraud, which carries a maximum potential sentence of 20 years in prison; and one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, which carries a maximum potential sentence of five years in prison.

SHAMALOV, 47, of Queens, New York, is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, which carries a maximum potential sentence of 20 years in prison; one count of mail fraud, which carries a maximum potential sentence of 20 years in prison; and one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, which carries a maximum potential sentence of five years in prison.

GAVRIELOF, 28, of Woodmere, New York, is charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, which carries a maximum potential sentence of five years in prison.

PAYANO, 34, of the Bronx, New York, is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and health care fraud, which carries a maximum potential sentence of 20 years in prison, and one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, which carries a maximum potential sentence of five years in prison.

FERNANDEZ, 24, and MEDINA, 28, both of the Bronx, New York, are charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and health care fraud, which carries a maximum potential sentence of 20 years in prison; one count of conspiracy to violate the Anti-Kickback Statute, which carries a maximum potential sentence of five years in prison; and one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, which carries a maximum potential sentence of five years in prison.

HERNANDEZ, 63, of New York, New York, and YAGUDAYEV, 35, of Queens, New York, are charged with one count of conspiracy to violate the Anti-Kickback Statute, which carries a maximum potential sentence of five years in prison.

The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge.

Mr. Williams praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI and HHS-OIG.

This case is being handled by the Office’s General Crimes Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jeffrey W. Coyle and Jackie Delligatti are in charge of the prosecution.

The charges contained in the Indictments are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

credit to justice.gov

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