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Former pharmacist sentenced to pay more than $300,000, serve two years in prison

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Feb 7, 2014 at 10:07 AM

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio Steven Dettelbach have announced that a former Ohio pharmacist has been ordered to pay more than $300,000 for illegally filling prescriptions at a Salem, Ohio, pharmacy for more than two years.

United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio Judge Sara Lioi on Thursday sentenced Bruce Franken, 53, who currently lives in Pennsylvania, to pay $301,550 in restitution of taxpayer dollars. The judge also sentenced Franken to serve two years in prison followed by three years of supervised release.

Franken pleaded guilty to one count of Health Care Fraud in October in connection with his time filling prescriptions at J.H. Lease Pharmacy between May 2009 and July 2011.

Franken was excluded from filling prescriptions for patients enrolled in federally funded health care programs, such as Medicaid, following convictions on multiple criminal charges, including theft of drugs, in 2001.

The amount of restitution ordered is equal to the amount of money Medicaid paid for the improperly filled prescriptions.

"This defendant filled these prescriptions with complete disregard for the law because he knew that he was legally prohibited from doing so," DeWine said. "Because of his previous crimes, he was not allowed to work with Medicaid recipients, and he had no right to completely ignore this restriction."

“This sentence sends an important message that there will be consequences for those that try to game programs such as Medicaid,” Dettelbach said. “Our office will continue to stamp out waste, fraud and abuse of all federal programs, particularly those that affect our health care system.”

The case was prosecuted by attorneys with Attorney General DeWine's Health Care Fraud Section and the office of United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio Steven Dettelbach. The case was investigated by agents with the Attorney General's Health Care Fraud Section as well as those with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General.

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