A.G. Schneiderman Announces Guilty Plea By Former Rochester Pharmacist For Stealing From Taxpayers

ROCHESTER– Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced that Elizabeth L. Johnson, a former pharmacist of the Tops Market Pharmacy in Rochester, pleaded guilty to defrauding the Medicaid program out of approximately $191,000. 

“Ms. Johnson blatantly ignored the suspension of her license and then ripped off a system put in place to help those in need,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Restoring New Yorkers' faith in their government and cracking down on those who try to defraud the taxpayers are two of our top priorities in this office. Today’s announcement should send a clear message that we will leave no stone unturned in the fight against Medicaid fraud, waste and abuse in New York State.”

Johnson, age 49 of Rochester, pleaded guilty before Acting Monroe County Court Judge Stephen T. Miller on charges of Grand larceny in the Fourth Degree and Unauthorized Practice, both class “E” felonies. Both charges carry a maximum penalty of four years in jail. Johnson is scheduled to be sentenced on May 12, 2011.

The Attorney General’s investigation revealed that Johnson, formerly the Supervising Pharmacist of the Tops Market Pharmacy, located at 710 Lake Avenue in the City of Rochester, was dispensing prescription medications to Medicaid recipients for several months after her license to practice as a pharmacist was suspended and she was excluded from participating as a Medicaid provider by the State. As a result of Johnson's conduct, Tops and Johnson generated  $191,000 in billings to the Medicaid program to which they were not entitled.

The prosecution is being handled by Jerry Solomon, Rochester Regional Director of the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit under the supervision of  Deputy Attorney General for the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, Monica J. Hickey-Martin. The investigation was conducted by Senior Special Investigator Douglas Hinchey and Associate Auditor/Investigator Michael Warfield.  The case was referred to the Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit by the Office of the Medicaid Inspector General.