Not guilty plea in Medicare scam case

A couple who ran a San Marino pharmacy have pleaded not guilty to charges of participating in an $18-million Medicare fraud scheme with a Glendale medical firm.

Phic Lim, 47, and his wife and business partner Theana Khou, 39, of Pasadena, were among 15 people arrested in October on suspicion of “prescription harvesting.” The scheme allegedly involved the couple's business, Huntington Pharmacy, and Manor Medical Imaging Clinic in Glendale.

The couple, who entered their pleas in U.S. District Court on Nov. 28, have posted a combined $150,000 in bail.

Federal prosecutors charge that the clinic and pharmacy re-billed the government repeatedly for anti-psychotic medications and resold some of the drugs on the black market. Huntington Pharmacy billed Medi-Cal nearly $45,000 in 2009, but that figure jumped to nearly $1.5 million in 2010, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Authorities allege that prescriptions written by a doctor at a bogus branch of Manor Medical Imaging Clinic were funneled back to pharmacies via a fraudulent drug wholesale company.

The anti-psychotic drugs — including Abilify, Seroquel and Zyprexa — are significantly more expensive than many other mediations, so re-billing can be lucrative, officials said.

Victor Sherman, an attorney who represents Lim and Khou, said he will ask for an October 2012 trial date because “it's a very complicated case.”

The multi-agency investigation tapped the resources of more than 200 agents, from the Department of Justice to local police.

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