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Wellington Pharmacist Found Guilty of Health Care Fraud

Posted by Ann Fitz | Sep 20, 2018 | 0 Comments

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi said the nationwide crackdown included the arrests of Stephen Chalker 42 of Wellington Christopher Liva 39 of Boca Raton and Elaina Liva 66 of Pompano Beach all for conspiracy to commit health care fraud Chalker was also charged with three counts of health care fraud According to the indictment the Livas owned and operated Pops Pharmacy LLC where Chalker worked as a pharmacist The defendants allegedly submitted false and fraudulent claims to Medicare TRICARE and Medicaid for compounded drugs and other prescription medications including expensive pain and scar creams deemed not medically necessary or never provided As a result of these false and fraudulent claims Medicare TRICARE and Medicaid made payments totaling more than $5 million

As previously blogged on this site, on June 28, 2018 the Department of Justice announced what was called “the largest health-care fraud takedown in history,” with more than 1,000 law enforcement officers charging 601 people — including 76 doctors, 23 pharmacists, 19 nurses — with more than $2 billion in fraud.

The takedown included 124 defendants in South Florida — in locations from Wellington to West Palm Beach to Boca Raton — charged with offenses relating to their participation in various fraud schemes involving over $337 million in false billings for services including home health care and pharmacy fraud.

Read the blog post here: National Health Care Fraud Takedown Charges 124 in South Florida

One of the indictments resulting from the takedown charged Stephen Chalker, 42, of Wellington; Christopher Liva, 39, of Boca Raton; and Elaina Liva, 66, of Pompano Beach — all for conspiracy to commit health care fraud. Chalker was also charged with three counts of health care fraud.

Read the Indictment here: United States of America v. Liva, Liva, and Chalker

The Livas both pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.

After a four-day trial, Chalker was convicted on Friday of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and two substantive counts of health care fraud.

From the DOJ Press Release:

“According to evidence presented at trial, from approximately September 2014 to August 2016, Chalker engaged in a scheme to defraud Medicare, TRICARE and Medicaid by submitting false and fraudulent claims for compounded drugs and other prescription medications that were not medically necessary and/or never provided. The evidence established that in his role as the pharmacist-in-charge at Pop's Pharmacy, a now-defunct pharmacy located in Deerfield Beach, Florida, Chalker submitted or caused the submission of claims in the amount of several thousands of dollars each for a single tube of pain and scar creams that patients did not want, did not need, and in some cases did not receive. Chalker and his co-conspirators ran a nationwide telemarketing and telemedicine scheme in which there was no real patient-prescriber relationship or actual patient care. As a result of claims submitted in connection with the scheme, Medicare, TRICARE and Medicaid made payments totaling nearly $5 million, the evidence showed.”

Sentencing has been scheduled for Nov. 15 before U.S. District Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks of the Southern District of Florida, who presided over the trial.

About the Author

Ann Fitz

Attorney Ann Fitz Attorney Ann Fitz has 20 years of experience as a federal criminal attorney and appellate practice attorney.  She began her career as a prosecutor in 2003 and started her own federal criminal defense practice in 2007.  She is devoted to protecting the rights of the accused in f...

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