Local Man Pleads Guilty To Fake Prescription Conspiracy

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  FREEHOLD – A sales rep pleaded guilty to his part in getting unneeded prescriptions in exchange for a commission.

  Joshua Darstek, 38, of Freehold, admitted to a compounded prescription drug conspiracy, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

  Police state that Darstek worked as a sales representative. He would sell medications to physicians, and he would earn a percentage.

  In order to inflate his commission, he would have doctors write prescriptions for patients they never saw. These patients were recruited to be part of the conspiracy, many of whom were members of the New Jersey School Employee’s Health Benefits Program.

  Then, his employers would pay him based on what they received from insurance.

  Furthermore, the prescriptions were for compounded medications. These are drugs mixed by a medical professional to create a medication tailored to the needs of an individual patient. The Food and Drug Administration does not approve compounded drugs and thus does not verify the safety, potency, effectiveness, or manufacturing quality of compounded drugs. Generally, a physician may prescribe compounded drugs when an FDA-approved drug does not meet the health needs of a particular patient.

 The medications included pain, scar, and wound creams and certain supplements and vitamins. His actions took place between May of 2014 and January of 2016.

  The conspiracy to commit health care fraud count carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gain or loss from the offense. As part of his plea agreement, Darstek must forfeit $148,500 in criminal proceeds and pay restitution of at least $594,639. Sentencing is scheduled for March 23, 2021.

  U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr. in Newark, and the U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Inspector General, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Leigh-Alistair Barzey, with the investigation leading to today’s plea.