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Wellington Pharmacist Found Guilty of Health Care Fraud

On Behalf of | Sep 20, 2018 | Conspiracy, Federal Crime, Federal Trial, Health Care Fraud, Medicare Fraud, Opioid Crisis, Southern District of Florida, White Collar Crime |

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.