Lockport pharmacist accused of $2.4M health care fraud scheme

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A southwest suburban pharmacist has been indicted in a $2.4 million fraud scheme that involved bogus insurance claims, identity theft, swapping out prescription drugs for supplements, and selling counterfeit Viagra, federal authorities said Tuesday.

Walter Beich, owner and pharmacist at Corwin Pharmacy in Lockport, was charged in a 12-count indictment returned last week by a federal grand jury, a statement from the U.S. attorney’s office said.

The indictment alleges Beich defrauded Medicare, Medicaid, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Humana and United Healthcare out of $2.4 million by filing fraudulent claims for prescription drugs, the statement said.

Beich filed the claims for drugs that were either not dispensed to customers, or were switched out for less-expensive supplements, the statement said. Authorities also claim Beich dispensed a foreign-sourced drug to customers who had been prescribed Viagra.

Beich had his employees create fake prescriptions made to look like a physician had called them in over the phone, the statement said. The indictment also said Beich filled customers’ prescriptions with physician samples, then billed insurance companies as though he had obtained the medications through normal commercial channels.

Corwin Pharmacy had been in business for more than 50 years when it shut down in November 2014 after filing for bankruptcy, according to published reports. Its website was blank as of Tuesday evening.

Beich, 61, is charged with health care fraud and aggravated identity theft for using names and identifying information of patients and physicians, the statement said. He will next appear in court June 26.

The fraud charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and mandatory restitution, the statement said. Federal authorities are also seeking a $2.4 million forfeiture in the case.

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