New York Man Pleads Guilty to $1.9M Baby Formula Fraud Scheme

Baby Formula Shortage A grocery store worker stocks shelves with baby formula Tuesday, May 24, 2022, in Tijuana, Mexico. As the baby formula shortage continues in the United States, some parents are opting to cross the border into Mexico, where the shelves are still stocked with options to feed their …
Gregory Bull/AP

A New York man pleaded guilty on Thursday to a $1.9 million scheme that involved selling fraudulently obtained baby formula, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Prosecutors contend that Staten Island resident Vladislav Kotlyar, 43, submitted and caused the submission of forged prescriptions and medical records for specialty baby formula that was paid for by health insurers. Court documents allege that Kotlyar obtained prescriptions and medical records for infants who were prescribed specialty baby formula and forged those records to obtain additional baby formula of the same type.

“After receiving the specialty baby formula, Kotlyar fabricated issues with the shipments, including by falsely claiming they were damaged or the incorrect formula to acquire additional formula at no additional cost. Kotlyar then sold the fraudulently obtained formula,” according to the DOJ.

“As part of the scheme, Kotlyar and his co-conspirators submitted more than $1.9 million in fraudulent claims to health insurers, including during a national shortage of baby formula,” the agency continued.

Kotlyar pleaded guilty to mail fraud and agreed to forfeit approximately $1 million and repay more than $738,000 in restitution. The DOJ did not name any of Kotlyar’s co-conspirators.

Kotlyar is facing a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. Trial Attorney Patrick Campbell of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section is prosecuting the case.


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