NEWS RELEASE
Office of Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr.


August 8, 2000 Media Inquiries: Sean Caine 410-576-6357

WORCESTER COUNTY PHARMACIST PLEADS GUILTY TO MEDICAID FRAUD

Baltimore - Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today that Carol Miller, 56, of Berlin, Maryland pled guilty today to making false statements to Medicaid. Worcester County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Groton sentenced Miller to one year in jail, with eight months suspended and the remaining four months to be served in home detention. Groton also ordered Miller to pay $33,750 in restitution to her former employer and placed on three years probation.

Miller was a pharmacist at Atlantic Pharmacy in Berlin from 1991 through 1999. Atlantic serves the Berlin Nursing Home. The vast majority of prescriptions issued by the pharmacy were billed to and paid for by the Maryland Medicaid program. During this period, unused medications were returned from the home to Atlantic due to a change in prescription or patient condition. On roughly a weekly basis, when prescriptions were returned to the pharmacy, Miller selected the more expensive medications and placed them back on Atlanticís shelves. When these medications were prescribed anew by a physician, Miller used these returned medications to fill the prescriptions and billed Medicaid a second time for the same pills. Miller did not advise Medicaid that the pills had been returned. Under Maryland regulations, a pharmacy cannot bill twice for pills paid for by Medicaid and returned to the pharmacy to be re-issued. Because Medicaid only pays to reimburse a pharmacy for the amounts it actually pays for prescription medicine, billing Medicaid for medications for which the pharmacy had no out-of-pocket costs constitutes making false statements to Medicaid under Maryland law.

Miller participated in this crime for over seven years. Atlantic has agreed to repay the state for Millerís activities and the court today ordered Miller to reimburse Atlantic $33,750.

"Ms. Miller went to great lengths over several years to defraud the Medicaid program and now she owes over $33,000," Attorney General Curran said. "It is my hope that others considering such deceptions will realize that while it may take months or even years for us to spot, we will eventually catch on to such schemes and offenders will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

This case was prosecuted by the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of Marylandís Attorney Generalís Office. Miller is the second pharmacist to plead guilty this summer for offenses involving medications returned to the pharmacy.

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