Criminal Diversion of Prescriptions

NY PENAL LAW 178.00 -- CRIMINAL DIVERSION OF PRESCRIPTIONS

The offense of Criminal Diversions of Prescription Medications and Prescriptions (NY Penal Law § 178.00) can be charged where prosecutors allege there to have been a fraudulent or illegal exchange of prescription drugs or medical services for pecuniary value. In any case where the crime of Criminal Diversion of Prescriptions has been charged, the first step to preparing a cogent defense is to discuss the circumstances leading up to your arrest with a top New York white-collar defense attorney. The statutory good faith defenses and ambiguity surrounding much of the law for these offenses requires lawyers adept at briefing and arguing complex issues of law and fact in the state courts of New York. Additionally, the crime of Criminal Diversion of Prescription Drugs and Prescriptions is often charged following state law enforcement stings and undercover investigations into Medicaid fraud and tax evasion by doctors and pharmacists. With experienced Manhattan criminal defense lawyers, however, law enforcement mistakes and overcharging by prosecutors may be exploited and ultimately could be the difference between a favorable outcome and a career-ending one in your case.

What is Criminal Diversion of Prescriptions?

In 1995, New York’s Legislature restructured the state’s administration of Medicaid and welfare subsidies in response to public concerns over rising costs. As part of this restructuring, the criminal offense of Criminal Diversion of Prescription Medications and Prescriptions (Criminal Diversion of Prescriptions) was added to the Penal Law. Despite legislative findings that the rising costs were due, in part, to an epidemic of fraudulent billing of prescriptions to the state Medicare and Medicaid programs by doctors’ offices and state pharmacies, prosecutions for the offense of Criminal Diversion of Prescriptions remained rare. That is, of course, until the Affordable Care Act brought renewed publicity and political attention to increases in costs of taxpayer subsidized health care and insurance.

As witnessed by top Manhattan criminal attorneys, the last few years have resulted in a precipitous rise of state and federal investigations into the billing practices of many medical professionals for Medicaid Fraud and similar offenses. Specific to New York, however, the increased billing of the state’s Medicaid and Medicare programs for highly subsidized but high market value prescriptions carries the risk of potentially defending a charge of Criminal Diversion of Prescriptions in the courts of New York City, Long Island and Westchester. When that occurs, don’t gamble on your license to practice your profession within the state. Hire only the best New York white-collar defense attorneys for your case. .

If you or someone you know is being investigated for their billing of prescription drugs to insurance or state Medicaid or Medicare programs, our top New York Medicaid and Medicare fraud defense attorneys are available for a consultation. We treat every client’s criminal case with the same level of zealousness and dedication as if it were our own. With decades of experience in handling criminal prosecutions of drug offenses as well as white-collar criminal charges, you can rest assured your criminal case will be handled effectively from the start.

For more information on the New York offense of Criminal Diversion of Prescriptions, additional passages written by our experienced defense team on applicable penalties and statutory defenses, may be found below.