Destin Physician Indicted on Drug and Fraud Charges,
MAR 08 -- TALLAHASSEE - Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent In Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration, Miami Field Division, Thomas F. Kirwin, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida, Bill McCollum, Florida Attorney General, Alex Sink, Florida Chief Financial Officer, James Casey, Special Agent In Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Jacksonville Division, Christopher Amato, Special Agent In Charge, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, Gerald Bailey, Commissioner of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, David Lewis, Director, Florida Attorney General’s Office Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, Ana M. Viamonte-Ros, M.D., M.P.H., State Surgeon General, Florida Department of Health, Ed Spooner, Okaloosa County Sheriff, and, Michael A. Adkinson, Jr., Walton County Sheriff today announced that federal grand jury has returned an indictment charging Destin physician Robert Bourlier (54), with heath care fraud and the unlawful dispensing of controlled substances. The indictment also charges Bourlier’s wife and office manager, Victoria Bourlier, a/k/a “Karen Victoria Ritchey” (51) with obstruction of justice.
The 151-count indictment charges Robert Bourlier with 20 counts of health care fraud, 128 counts of unlawfully dispensing controlled substances, and 2 counts of dispensing controlled substances whose use resulted in the death of an individual. Victoria Bourlier was charged with obstructing and impeding an official investigation.
The indictment alleges that while operating a medical business known as “Dr. Robert Bourlier, Internal Medicine,” on U.S. Highway 98 in Destin. Bourlier prescribed controlled substances to patients without a sufficient medical necessity. He allegedly prescribed these substances in quantities and dosages that caused his patients to abuse, misuse, and become addicted to the drugs. The indictment further alleges that Bourlier prescribed controlled substances to patients knowing that the patients were addicted to and misusing these drugs. Robert Bourlier continued to prescribe addictive controlled substances to patients even after learning that the patients had suffered overdoses on the drugs, were selling the drugs, or were “doctor shopping.”
The first 20 counts of the indictment charge Bourlier with committing health care fraud by prescribing excessive and inappropriate quantities of controlled substances to patients outside the usual course of professional practice, and causing these patients to fill prescriptions at various pharmacies, which resulted Medicaid, Medicare, Tricare, and Blue Cross/Blue Shield paying for medically unnecessary prescriptions. In addition, the indictment alleges that Bourlier submitted fraudulent claims for medical services to health care benefit organizations.
Counts 21 through 148 of the indictment charge that Bourlier illegally dispensed and caused to be dispensed: narcotics, including oxycodone, methadone, and hydrocodone; sedatives, including diazepam, zolpidem and temazepam; the anti-anxiety drug, alprazolam; butalbital, a barbiturate; clonazepam, an anti-convulsant; and phentermine, a central nervous system stimulant. Counts 149 and 150 charge that Bourlier’s dispensing of methadone and alprazolam, in September 2006 and his dispensing of hydrocodone and alprazolam in August 2007, resulted in the death of two patients.
Count 151 charges that Victoria Bourlier obstructed justice by removing records, documents and objects, including two safes and a duffel bag from the residence she shared with Robert Bourlier while officials were executing a search warrant at Bourliers’ medical office.
The indictment also seeks the forfeiture real and personal property of Robert Bourlier.
Defendants were arrested by federal, state, and local agents Friday morning in Destin, Florida, on federal warrants issued based upon the charges of the indictment. Both defendants appeared in United States District Court in Pensacola on Friday afternoon.
If convicted as charged in Count 149, the count involving the dispensing of methadone and alprazolam, with death resulting from the use of those controlled substances, Robert Bourlier faces a mandatory minimum term of 20 years’ imprisonment, a maximum of life imprisonment, and a fine of $1,000,000. He also faces maximum sentences ranging from 3 to 40 years if convicted of the remaining counts of the indictment. If convicted, Victoria Bourlier faces a maximum term of 20 years imprisonment.
This indictment is the result of a joint Federal/State North Florida Health Care Fraud Task Force investigation that commenced more than two years ago. United States Attorney Kirwin commended the diligent efforts of investigators of the agencies involved in this complex investigation, and praised the cooperation of citizens and pharmacists who alerted investigators to the conduct alleged in the indictment.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent until, and unless, proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
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