Lewis County Pharmacist Admits To Four Year Health Care Fraud

Attorney General Spitzer today announced that one of the pharmacists at Dooley's Drug Store, a family-run pharmacy in Harrisville, has admitted to falsely billing the Medicaid program and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Utica-Watertown for prescriptions that were never ordered.

Michael Dooley, 48, of 725 State Street in Carthage, was arraigned yesterday in Albany County Court before Judge Thomas Breslin and pleaded guilty to the felony crime of Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree. Sentencing was set for January 22, 2002.

According to prosecutors, while employed as a pharmacist at Dooley's Drug Store between January 1997 and December 2000, Dooley submitted numerous Medicaid and Blue Cross/Blue Shield reimbursement claims, falsely stating that medical professionals had called in the prescriptions. In fact, as the defendant well knew, the medical professionals had not issued the prescriptions.

Spitzer said, "The Medicaid program was designed to assist the poor with their medical needs. It is inexcusable that this pharmacist, who worked in the only pharmacy within a fifteen-mile radius, would betray his professional obligations and steal from government and private health insurance plans. This conviction sends a clear message that stealing taxpayer dollars will not be tolerated by my office. My office will also vigorously prosecute those who defraud private insurance plans such as Blue Cross/Blue Shield."

Spitzer noted that the investigation of Dooley's Drug Store by his Medicaid Fraud Control Unit is continuing, and that the State Department of Health has suspended the drug store from participating in the Medicaid program.

Dooley's Drug Store is owned by Dooley's Drugs, Inc., a corporation operated by Arthur Dooley, Michael Dooley's father and the supervising pharmacist at the drug store. Dooley's Drug Store is located at 61 Main Street in Harrisville.

The Attorney General's Office will refer Michael Dooley's conviction to the State Education Department's Office of the Professions for a review of his pharmacist license.

Special Assistant Attorney General Norman S. Hatt, of the Syracuse Regional Office of the Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, prosecuted the case. All cases are handled under the direct supervision of Deputy Attorney General Jos? Maldonado.