Lewis County Pharmacist Charged With $20,000 Prescription Fraud

Attorney General Spitzer today announced that Arthur Dooley, the pharmacist-owner of a family-run drugstore in Harrisville, has been arrested on prescription fraud charges. The arrest comes less than three months after Dooley’s son, also a pharmacist at the store, admitted to defrauding government and private health insurance plans over a four-year period by billing for prescriptions that were never ordered.

Arthur F. Dooley, and his corporation, Dooley’s Drugs, Inc., were arraigned today before Albany County Court Judge Stephen Herrick, on a 17-count indictment. They were each charged with one count of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, one count of Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, and fifteen counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree. If convicted, Dooley faces up to seven years in prison. In the case of a corporation, each felony is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 or double the amount of the illegal gain.

Spitzer said, "This investigation and prosecution by my Medicaid Fraud Control Unit drives home our message that we will continue to aggressively pursue and prosecute those individuals who steal from taxpayers, as well as private insurers."

According to prosecutors, as the supervising pharmacist at Dooley’s Drug Store, Arthur Dooley submitted numerous Medicaid and Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Utica-Watertown reimbursement claims between January 1997 and October 2000, falsely stating that medical professionals had called in the prescriptions – including ones for himself and his wife. In fact, as the defendant well knew, the medical professionals had not issued the prescriptions. As a result, Dooley and his corporation illegally received more than $20,000 from both government and private insurers.

Spitzer noted that Arthur Dooley’s son, Michael, was arrested by his Medicaid Fraud Control Unit on similar charges in October. Michael Dooley, 48, of 725 State Street in Carthage, pleaded guilty at his arraignment to the felony crime of Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree.

Spitzer thanked Lewis County Social Services Commissioner James Davis, the Excellus Corporation, and Blue Cross/Blue Shield for their assistance during the investigation.

Arthur Dooley, 76, of Locust Street in Harrisville, has been a registered pharmacist since 1949. He has operated Dooley’s Drug Store since 1950. Dooley’s Drug Store, which is owned by Dooley’s Drugs, Inc., is located at 61 Main Street in Harrisville.

In March 2001, the State Department of Health suspended Dooley’s Drug Store from participating in the Medicaid program.

The Attorney General’s Office will refer the cases of both Arthur and Michael Dooley to the State Education Department’s Office of the Professions for a review of their pharmacist licenses.

Special Assistant Attorney General Norman S. Hatt, of the Syracuse Regional Office of the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, is prosecuting both cases. All cases are handled under the direct supervision of Deputy Attorney General José Maldonado.

The charges against Arthur Dooley and Dooley’s Drugs, Inc., are accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.