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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Ohio

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 6, 2014

Salem Pharmacist Sentenced To Two Years In Prison For Health Care Fraud

A Salem, Ohio, pharmacist was sentenced to two years in prison and ordered to pay more than $300,000 in restitution after previously pleading guilty to health care fraud, said Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.

Bruce E. Franken, 53, will also be on supervised release for three years upon his release from federal prison.

“This sentence sends an important message that there will be consequences for those that try to game programs such as Medicaid,” Dettelbach said. “Our office will continue to stamp out waste, fraud and abuse of all federal programs, particularly those that affect our health care system.”

“This defendant filled these prescriptions with complete disregard for the law because he knew that he was legally prohibited from doing so,” said Attorney General DeWine. “Because of his previous crimes, he was not allowed to work with Medicaid recipients, and he had no right to completely ignore this restriction.”

Franken was excluded from filling prescriptions for patients enrolled in federally funded health care programs, such as Medicaid, following  convictions on multiple criminal charges, including theft of drugs, in 2001.

From May 14, 2009, through July 14, 2011, Franken worked as a pharmacist at J.H. Lease Pharmacy, 229 North Ellsworth Avenue, Salem, Ohio. He filled prescriptions for Medicaid recipients even though he knew he was excluded from participation in all federal health care programs.

As a result of Franken’s unauthorized and fraudulent claims, Medicaid was billed and subsequently paid these prescriptions that Franken was prohibited from providing in the amount of $301,550, according to court documents.

This case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Chelsea Rice and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Constance Nearhood following an investigation by the Ohio Attorney General's Health Care Fraud Section and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General.

Updated March 12, 2015