Old Forge Pharmacist Charged with Health Care Fraud
|U.S. Attorney’s Office January 28, 2014|
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that it has filed a criminal information in U.S. District Court in Scranton charging an Old Forge pharmacist with submitting false insurance claims for non-existent prescriptions.
According to United States Attorney Peter J. Smith stated that, according to the criminal information, Peter Capitano, owner of Capitano’s Pharmacy, engaged in a scheme to defraud Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Medicaid Program between January 2007 through August 2013.
The charges stem from an investigation initiated in February 2011 by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General.
Capitano allegedly submitted claims or caused claims to be submitted for drugs allegedly prescribed when the prescriptions did not exist and drugs were not actually dispensed.
A plea agreement was also filed together with the criminal information. The agreement is subject to approval by the court. According to the plea agreement, the estimated financial loss resulting from the fraudulent claims was between $120,000 and $200,000. Capitano will be required to pay restitution for the loss amount.
In this particular case, the maximum penalty under the federal statute is 10 years’ imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances, and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public, and provide for the defendant’s educational, vocational, and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.
Prosecution is assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Michelle Olshefski.
An Indictment or Information is not evidence of guilt but simply a description of the charge made by the grand jury and/or United States Attorney against a defendant. A charged defendant is presumed innocent until a jury returns a unanimous finding that the United States has proven the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt or until the defendant has pled guilty to the charges.