Former Pharmacist Sentenced To 25 Months In Prison For Using Patient And Doctor Names To Create Fraudulent Prescriptions
A former pharmacist from Richmond, Kentucky was sentenced in United States District Court yesterday to 25 months in prison followed by one month of supervised release for aggravated identity theft, fraudulently acquiring controlled substances, and wire fraud.
Elizabeth A. Smith, age 30, had previously pleaded guilty in United States District Court to a federal Information on November 19, 2012.
Between April 2011 and January 2012, Smith, a former Walgreens pharmacist, used patient names and doctor names and DEA numbers to create fraudulent prescriptions for controlled substances such as hydrocodone (a Schedule III controlled substance). Smith filled the prescriptions without the patients’ or doctors’ knowledge, and kept the pills for personal use. Smith defrauded Walgreens on each prescription by greatly reducing the amount due for the prescriptions in the Walgreens computer system. Smith then paid the small remaining balance herself.
While the emphasis of the press release seems from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Western District of Kentucky seems to be on defrauding Walgreens, the issue of more concern to me is what happened to the patients and doctors whose information was misused? Did her creation of records indicating use or prescription of controlled substances have the potential to negatively impact patients and subscribers? Yes. Was anything done to remove the fake entries from their records? I hope so.