Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Massachusetts
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 8, 2021
Lexington Doctor and Wife Charged in Superseding Indictment in International Money Laundering and Health Care Fraud Scheme
BOSTON – A Lexington doctor and his wife, who works as his office manager, were charged today in a superseding indictment in connection with an international money laundering scheme involving importing illegal, misbranded drugs.
Rahim Shafa, 64, was indicted on health care fraud conspiracy, international money laundering conspiracy, money laundering, conspiracy to defraud the United States, illegally importing merchandise contrary to law and receiving and delivering misbranded drugs with an intent to defraud and mislead. Nahid “Nina” Tormosi Shafa, 63, was indicted on one count of health care fraud conspiracy and one count of international money laundering conspiracy. The defendants were previously indicted in August 2020.
According to the charging documents, Shafa was a psychiatrist who owned and operated Novel Psychopharmacology, for which Tormosi Shafa served as office manager. From April 2016 through January 2019, the defendants allegedly filed false and fraudulent Medicare reimbursement claims that they deposited into bank accounts they controlled.
It is further alleged that from approximately January 2008 through January 2018, Shafa and Tormosi Shafa engaged in an international money laundering scheme to purchase naltrexone pellet implants as well as disulfiram pellet implants and injections from Hong Kong. Naltrexone and disulfiram are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in certain forms for the treatment of alcohol dependence and alcohol and opioid dependence, respectively. However, the forms that Shafa and Tormosi Shafa allegedly purchased are not approved by the FDA. Shafa allegedly falsified shipping documents to conceal that the packages containing the drugs were shipped from Hong Kong to Shafa in Massachusetts. For example, packages containing naltrexone pellet implants were falsely declared as ‘plastic beads in plastic tubes’ in shipping documents. Shafa and Tormosi Shafa offered to sell these drugs to patients of Novel.
The charge of health care fraud conspiracy provides for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. The charges of money laundering and money laundering conspiracy provide for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. The charge of conspiracy to defraud the United States provides for a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. The charge of importing merchandise contrary to law provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. The charge of exporting merchandise contrary to law provides for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. The charge of receiving and delivering a misbranded drug with intent to defraud and mislead provides for a sentence of up to three years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell; Jeffrey Ebersole, Special Agent in Charge of the Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations, New York Field Office; Philip M. Coyne, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Office of the Inspector General, Office of Investigations, Boston Regional Office; and Colonel Christopher Mason, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police, made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney John T. Mulcahy of Mendell’s Worcester Branch Office is prosecuting the case.
The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.