Codman Square pharmacist charged with Medicaid fraud

A longtime Codman Square pharmacist defended himself this week against an indictment by a federal grand jury accusing him of Medicaid fraud. Amadiegwu "Joe" Onujiogu, who lives in Randolph and owns a pharmacy on 624 Washington St., was charged with paying a percentage to customers to bring prescriptions to his pharmacy and then not giving them the medication, while submitting paperwork to collect funds from Medicaid.

"I have been a pharmacist for 30 years," he said, standing outside the Joseph Moakley Courthouse after a Monday hearing. "I have done my very best."

According to an eight-page indictment provided by federal prosecutors, Onujiogu, 60, was involved in the fraud since around October 2007, soliciting prescriptions, including for expensive HIV/AIDS and anti-psychotic medications, from as many as 40 patients.

Joined by a half-dozen family members, Onujiogu was in court on Monday for an arraignment on the charges. His next court date is on October 8. If convicted of the charges, he faces a sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. He was indicted last week.

Onujiogu, a Nigerian-American, said he has owned the pharmacy for 20 years. "It's a fixture in that neighborhood," he told the Reporter. "It should not be allowed to go down just like that."

He said he mentors local youngsters who are interested in medicine. "I'm very proud of what I've done for the neighborhood,"he said. "I did my best."

He was arrested on July 30 and being electronically monitored, according to the U.S. Attorney's office. Essentially under house arrest, he is allowed to leave his home for legal and medical appointments, according to court documents.