A handful of pharmacists in the Midwest are facing federal charges of health care fraud after investigators say they participated in a scheme to defraud Medicare of $12.1 million in false claims.
Nine individuals from Ohio and Detroit were charged last week in three separate indictments. Each of the defendants was a licensed pharmacist or an owner of a pharmacy in Michigan or Ohio.
Per investigators, the nine conspired to bill Medicare, Medicaid, and Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) for prescription medications that were not actually purchased nor dispensed to other individuals. The defendants also allegedly billed for medications that weren’t medically necessary and, in some cases, were dispensed to beneficiaries who had already died.
Prosecutors say the defendants billed for and received more than $12.1 million in false claims from 2010 through last year. Of that amount, the defendants allegedly billed roughly three-quarters for drugs the pharmacies did not even have the appropriate stock on hand to fill.
Among the charges leveled against the defendants is health care fraud, conspiracy to commit health care fraud, and wire fraud. The defendants were all charged in the courtroom of U.S. Magistrate Judge Anthony P. Patti in the Eastern District of Michigan. No further court dates have yet been announced for any of the defendants.