Dearborn pharmacist sentenced to 6 years in prison

Holly Fournier
The Detroit News

A Dearborn pharmacist was sentenced Thursday to six years in prison for his role in a health care fraud and drug distribution scheme, according to U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade.

Waleed Yaghmour, 48, was charged with money laundering and conspiracy to illegally distribute pills, McQuade said in a statement. Yaghmour owned and operated a Sav-Mart Pharmacy in Detroit used by conspirators in the scheme.

He was charged in March 2013 along with 43 other individuals accused of providing kickbacks, bribes and other illegal benefits to physicians who agreed to write prescriptions for controlled substances including Oxycontin, Vicodin and Xanax, McQuade said. Participants in the scheme also payed kickbacks and bribes to patients who allowed pharmacies and physicians to bill their insurances for the medications.

Yaghmour pleaded guilty to collecting nearly $2 million in cash payments by knowingly dispensing more than 200,000 doses of medication from fraudulent prescriptions, McQuade said. He agreed to forfeit more than $950,000 seized from his account at an overseas bank.

“More people die in America every year from prescription drug overdoses than from overdoses of all other drugs combined,” McQuade said in the statement. “Pharmacists who divert prescription drugs to the street market are contributing to this epidemic, and we are focusing our enforcement efforts on stopping them.”

Many of the defendants charged in the scheme have been convicted by pleas and have received sentences, McQuade said. Others are scheduled for sentencing in the near future.

HFournier@detroitnews.com