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Press Release

Doctor Indicted On Heath Care Fraud And Opioid Diversion Charges

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG – The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that Charles J. Gartland, D.O., age 59, of Cochranville, Pennsylvania, was indicted on November 29, 2017, by a federal grand jury on health care fraud and opioid diversion charges.


According to United States Attorney David J. Freed, the indictment alleges Gartland perpetrated a scheme to defraud two health care benefit programs, WellSpan Health of York, PA and Medicare, by writing 221 prescriptions between September 2014 and August 2017, for Hydrocodone, Oxycodone, Fentanyl, Morphine and other controlled substances.  According to the indictment, the prescriptions were issued by Gartland under the names of three of his family members. Of the 221 prescriptions, 194 were for 17,187 Hydrocodone-Ibuprofen 7.5 -200 mg pills. 


The indictment also alleges the prescriptions were never intended for the medical care or treatment of the family members, but instead were intended for Dr. Gartland’s personal use. As such, the prescriptions were outside the scope of professional medical practice and were not issued for a legitimate medical purpose.


According to the indictment, Gartland allegedly filled the prescriptions at four pharmacies in York, Chester and Lancaster Counties.  It’s alleged that Gartland deceived the pharmacies into giving him the pills by making them believe they were intended for his family members. WellSpan and Medicare were allegedly defrauded when they paid claims submitted by the pharmacies for the prescriptions.


The indictment charges Gartland with 10 counts of health care fraud and 10 counts of obtaining controlled substances by deception.


Gartland surrendered to the U.S. Marshal Service yesterday and entered a not guilty plea before United States Magistrate Judge Martin C. Carlson. Judge Carlson ordered Gartland released pending trial under supervision by the U.S. Probation Office.  Trial was scheduled for February 5, 2018, before United States District Court Judge Yvette Kane. 


The matter is being investigated by the Harrisburg Offices of the Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General, and the Pennsylvania Department of State Bureau of Enforcement and Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kim Douglas Daniel is prosecuting the case.


Indictments and Criminal Informations are only allegations. All persons charged are presumed to be innocent unless and until found guilty in court.


A sentence following a finding of guilt is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.


Each count of Health Care Fraud is punishable by up to 10 years’ imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.  Each count of Obtaining Possession of a Controlled Substance by Deception is punishable by up to four years’ imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant's educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.


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Updated December 1, 2017

Health Care Fraud