A pharmacist in south Florida was convicted by a jury last week of federal charges of health care fraud after investigators say he operated a compounding pharmacy scheme worth almost $5 million.
Stephen Chalker of Wellington was found guilty after a four-day trial in the chambers of U.S. District Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks of the Southern District of Florida of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and two substantive counts of health care fraud last week. Prosecutors say he defrauded Medicare, TRICARE, and Medicaid by submitting false claims for medically unnecessary compounded drugs and other prescription medications. Per prosecutors, Chalker never provided the drugs prescribed, and subsequently billed federal health insurance services anyway.
Federal prosecutors said at trial that while pharmacist-in-charge at a now-closed pharmacy in Deerfield Beach, Chalker submitted claims of up to several thousand of dollars apiece for a particular pain and scar medication that was unwanted and unneeded by the patients to whom he dispensed it. Additionally, investigators say he was involved in a nationwide telemedicine operation that carried out no relationship with actual patients and no patient care.
Altogether, federal prosecutors said that Chalker’s actions led to almost $5 million in fraudulent billing to Medicare, TRICARE, and Medicaid over a period of nearly 2 years.
Codefendants Christopher Liva of Boca Raton, Florida, and Elaina Liva of Pompano Beach, Florida previously pled guilty to similar charges related to the alleged scheme. Chalker is scheduled for sentencing on November 15, while the other two defendants have not yet had a scheduling date set.