Sunday, January 24, 2016

Pennsylvania Physician And One Other Plead Guilty To Health Care Fraud Charges Arising From Writing A Fraudulent Prescription in Another Person's Name

Writing a prescription in another person's name is a fraudulent prescription. When that visit or prescription in the other person's name is billed to Medicare or insurance, then there is also health care fraud. When a Schedule II drug is involved, there is also a potential drug count.

On January 15, 2016,  Dr. John Terry and Stephen Heffner, Jr. pleaded guilty before Chief United States District Court Judge Christopher C. Conner in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

According to the plea agreement, in April 2013, Dr. Terry caused Medicare to be billed for fraudulent prescriptions intended for Mr. Heffner knowing that Mr. Heffner was not his patient and that the Oxycodone was not actually intended for Mr. Heffner but for Dr. Terry’s patient, David Hatch of New York.  Medicare paid for the prescription received by Mr. Heffner but actually delivered to Mr. Hatch.

It was also alleged that Dr. Terry also provided prescriptions for Oxycodone and other narcotics to another patient, Thomas Ray, who Dr. Terry should have known was not seeking the drugs for legitimate medical purposes.  It was alleged that Medicaid paid for medically unnecessary prescriptions written for Mr. Ray. Mr. Ray previously pled guilty and is scheduled to be sentenced on January 20, 2016. 

Mr. Heffner and Mr. Hatch were charged with theft from the Medicare Program arising out of the same incident in separate criminal informations.  The government also filed a plea agreement with Mr. Hatch.  Mr. Hatch is scheduled to appear before Chief Judge Conner in Harrisburg to enter a plea of guilty on February 11, 2016.

The investigation was initiated in June 2013 by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) drug diversion agents and the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General.  During the execution of a federal search warrant at his office on July 8, 2013, Dr. Terry voluntarily agreed to surrender his medical license and his DEA registration. This criminal case arose out of that search warrant.

The plea agreement for the physician appears to be a compromise in that Dr. Terry was originally indicted for the additional charge of conspiring to distribute controlled substancwes and he is not pleading to that count.  By the time this plea occurred, Dr. Terry had already voluntarily surrendered his medical license.

Posted by Tracy Green, Esq.
Work 213-233-2260


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