Lockport Pharmacist Indicted For Allegedly Falsely Billing $2.4 Million For Prescription Claims
CHICAGO — A southwest suburban pharmacist was indicted on federal charges for health care fraud, federal law enforcement officials announced today. The defendant, WALTER BEICH, the owner and licensed pharmacist at Lockport Pharmacy, Inc. operating as Corwin Pharmacy, was charged in a twelve-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury last week, alleging he participated in a scheme to defraud various health care benefit programs in the amount of $2,400,000. The indictment also charges Beich with aggravated identity theft for his use of patient and physician names and identifying information during his scheme. The indictment also seeks forfeiture in the amount of $2.4 million, the amount of the alleged loss to the health care providers. Beich, 61, of Lockport, Illinois, was arraigned in federal court this morning and was released on a $4,500 unsecured bond and is scheduled for a status in front of U.S. District Court Judge John W. Darrah on June 26, 2015.
According to the indictment, Beich participated in a scheme to defraud Medicare, Medicaid, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Humana, and United Healthcare by filing fraudulent claims for prescription drugs that were not dispensed to his customers or he had switched out for less-expensive supplements instead of FDA-approved prescription drugs. The indictment also alleges that Beich had his employees create fake prescriptions to make it appear as if a physician had phoned-in certain prescriptions. In addition, the indictment alleges that Beich obtained physician sample drugs and then submitted insurance claims for dispensing these sample drugs as if he obtained those drugs through commercial distribution channels. The indictment also alleges that Beich dispensed a foreign-sourced drug to customers instead of the prescription Viagra.
Health care fraud carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, and restitution is mandatory. Aggravated identity theft carries a mandatory prison term of two years’ incarceration, served consecutively to any other term of imprisonment imposed. Upon a conviction, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.
The charges were announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Robert J. Holley, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Lamont Pugh III, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Regional Office of the HHS-OIG; and James Vanderberg, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Regional Office of the U.S. Department of Labor-OIG.
The government is being represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Samuel B. Cole.
The public is reminded that a complaint is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.