Owner of Baton Rouge Pharmacy Pleads Guilty to Directing $2.2 Million Health Care Fraud Scheme
WASHINGTON—The owner of a Louisiana pharmacy pleaded guilty today for directing a $2.2 million Medicare fraud scheme to repackage and redistribute prescription medications.
Acting Assistant Attorney General David A. O’Neil of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Interim U.S. Attorney J. Walter Green of the Middle District of Louisiana, Special Agent in Charge Mike Fields of the Dallas Region of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General (HHS-OIG), Special Agent in Charge Michael Anderson of the FBI’s New Orleans Division, and Louisiana State Attorney General James Buddy Caldwell made the announcement.
Mona Patrice Carter, 47, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge James J. Brady of the Middle District of Louisiana to one count of health care fraud. Sentencing will be determined at a later date.
Carter admitted that she owned and operated Community Pharmacy 1, a Baton Rouge pharmacy. From 2007 through December 2013, Carter paid employees of Community Pharmacy clients, including nursing homes and mental health facilities, to collect and return unused prescription drugs. When these drugs were returned to Community Pharmacy, Carter directed her employees to re-package them. Community Pharmacy then re-distributed these drugs as if they were new and billed Medicare as if they were being distributed for the first time—effectively billing Medicare twice for the same medications.
Carter admitted that from January 2008 through February 2013, she caused $2,245,515 in fraudulent billings to Medicare for prescription medications.
The case was investigated by HHS-OIG, the FBI, and the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Louisiana State Attorney General’s Office and was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, under the supervision of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section. This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney William G. Kanellis of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.
Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged more than 1,700 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $5.5 billion. In addition, HHS’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.
To learn more about the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), go to www.stopmedicarefraud.gov.