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An Inland Empire pharmacist has been charged with using his Montclair pharmacy to submit more than $300 million in fraudulent Medi-Cal claims for prescription medications that were medically unnecessary, often not provided to patients, and were obtained through the payment of tens of millions of dollars in illegal kickbacks, the Justice Department announced today.

Kyrollos Mekail, 36, of Moreno Valley, is charged with two counts of health care fraud. He is expected to be arraigned in the coming weeks in United States District Court. The charges filed in federal court are part of the Department of Justice’s 2024 National Health Care Fraud Enforcement Action.

According to court documents, Mekail is a licensed California pharmacist who owns, operates, and is the pharmacist-in-charge of the Montclair-based Monte VP LLC, which does business as Monte Vista Pharmacy. Monte Vista Pharmacy is a provider under Medi-Cal, a California health care benefit program.

In early 2022, Medi-Cal suspended its requirement that health care providers obtain prior authorization before providing certain health care services or medications as a condition of reimbursement. The suspension of the prior authorization requirements was part of an ongoing transition of Medi-Cal’s prescription drug program to a new payment system.

From May 2022 to March 2023, Mekail and his co-schemers allegedly exploited Medi-Cal’s prior authorization suspension by billing Medi-Cal tens of millions of dollars per month for dispensing high-reimbursement, non-contracted, generic drugs through Monte Vista Pharmacy. Some prescription medications purportedly were to treat pain and also included Folite tablets, a vitamin available over the counter.

Normally, these high-cost reimbursement medications would have required prior authorization under Medi-Cal’s old payment system. The information alleges the medication involved in this scheme was medically unnecessary, frequently was not dispensed to patients, and procured by kickbacks.  

In less than one year, Monte Vista Pharmacy billed Medi-Cal approximately $306,521,392 for the medications, of which Medi-Cal paid Monte Vista Pharmacy approximately $204,032,151, according to court documents.

Mekail allegedly paid two co-schemers more than $36 million of the fraudulently obtained Medi-Cal proceeds as kickbacks for referring the prescriptions. He allegedly disguised these kickbacks as payments for “consulting services.”

An information is merely an allegation. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

If convicted of all charges, Mekail would face a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison for each count of health care fraud.

The United States Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), the FBI, and the California Department of Justice are investigating this matter.

Assistant United States Attorney Roger A. Hsieh of the Major Frauds Section and Assistant Chief Niall M. O’Donnell and Trial Attorney Siobhan M. Namazi of the U.S. Department of Justice, Criminal Division, Fraud Section are prosecuting this case. Assistant United States Attorney James E. Dochterman of the Asset Forfeiture and Recovery Section is handling asset forfeiture matters in this case.