Pharmacist Pleads Guilty to Health Care Fraud, Agrees to Pay $344,085 to Settle False Claims Act Allegations
JUL 16 -- Steven W. Derr, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration for New England and Nora R. Dannehy, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that JOBY GEORGE, 35, of Cliffwood, New Jersey, pleaded guilty to before United States District Judge Mark R. Kravitz in New Haven to one count of health care fraud. In addition, GEORGE has entered into a civil settlement agreement with the Government in which he will pay $344,805 to resolve allegations that he violated the False Claims Act.
According to documents filed with the Court and statements made in court, between June 2006 and September 2008, GEORGE was a pharmacist, licensed in Connecticut, New Jersey and New York, and a part owner of Byram Pharmacy, located at 13 North Water Street in Greenwich, Connecticut. During this time period, GEORGE knowingly and willfully submitted, or caused to be submitted, fraudulent claims for payment to the Medicaid and Medicare programs. Specifically, GEORGE submitted various claims to Medicaid for certain prescription drugs that were not, in fact, dispensed. GEORGE also submitted various claims to Medicaid for certain brand name drugs when, in fact, he had dispensed less expensive generic drugs.
Finally, the Government has alleged in the civil settlement agreement that GEORGE improperly submitted claims to Medicare for certain prescription narcotics that he dispensed to an individual while accepting cash payments from the same individual for additional quantities of those drugs.
Judge Kravitz has scheduled sentencing for October 16, 2009, at which time GEORGE faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a fine of up to $250,000. GEORGE also has agreed to surrender all of his pharmacist licenses on the date of his sentencing.
In addition, to resolve his liability under the False Claims Act, GEORGE will pay treble damages on a portion of the improper claims to federal health care programs, in the amount of $344,805. The False Claims Act provides for treble damages and penalties of $5,500 to $11,000 per false claim submitted to the Government.
This matter is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Food and Drug Administration, Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Department of Health and Human Services.