The criminal case against Hootan Melamed, the former owner of several pharmacies, appears to be coming to a close. A plea agreement for Melamed was filed in the U.S. District Court for Southern California in early November, at the same time that prosecutors filed superseding information that outlines a conspiracy charge and a plan to recover assets in a forfeiture plan. Melamed, who previously owned multiple pharmacies including New Age Pharmacy in Beverly Hills, faces the forfeiture of any property “real or personal, which constitutes or was derived from” money that can be traced to the conspiracy. No restitution amount is mentioned in the filing, but it is likely that such a figure would be substantial if and when it is introduced.
Melamed has long been accused of masterminding a kickback and fraud scheme that involved a number of accomplices in a conspiracy to refer patients to his pharmacies to fill prescriptions, resulting in close to $200 million in fraudulent workers compensation billings. The scheme has already resulted in charges and convictions against several co-conspirators, including anesthesiologist Dr. Amir Friedman, medical marketer John Pangelian, Dr. Phong H. Tran, Jean Picard, and Jonathan Pena.