April 25, 2014

Old Forge Pharmacist Pleads Guilty to Health Care Fraud Charges

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that an Old Forge pharmacist pleaded guilty in Scranton today to health care fraud charges before the U.S. District Court Judge Malachy E. Mannion.

According to United States Attorney Peter Smith, a criminal information was filed in January 2014 charging Peter Capitano with engaging in a scheme and artifice to defraud Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania and Medicaid for the period beginning 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 pled guilty pursuant to a plea agreement with the government.

The information filed against Capitano alleges that he engaged in a scheme and artifice to defraud Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania and Medicare by submitting claims or causing claims to be submitted to those health benefit providers for drugs allegedly prescribed when the prescriptions did not exist and for drugs not actually dispensed. 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.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michelle Olshefski.