Former Pharmacy Supervisor Arrested on Forgery, Larceny Charges
The unlawful actions of a former University of Connecticut pharmacy supervisor allegedly cost the university nearly $38,000.
The unlawful actions of a former University of Connecticut (UConn) pharmacy supervisor allegedly cost the university nearly $38,000.
Michael Olzinski, who worked at the Student Health Services Infirmary on the UConn Storrs campus, has been arrested on charges of larceny, 173 counts of second-degree forgery, and illegal distribution of controlled substances.
Police estimate that these offenses were allegedly committed sometime between June 2012 and April 9, 2015, according to Olzinski’s arrest warrant.
In April 2015, UConn’s Office of Audit, Compliance, and Ethics (OACE) contacted the police about Olzinski potentially committing theft and fraud. The OACE staff said an audit of the pharmacy showed that the amount paid to a vendor, Amerisource, didn’t match up with the products received by the pharmacy, as documented by Olzinski.
The OACE staff also told police that Olzinski might have been fraudulently filling prescriptions for his friends and family, as well as under the names of UConn students.
The pharmacy supervisor was placed on administrative leave on April 9, 2015, and later resigned on June 8, 2015. His arrest warrant from the UConn Police Department was signed on March 21, 2016, and he’s due in court on May 2, 2016, according to Patch.
In August 2015, the police obtained the audit findings, which suggested that Olzinski had ordered personal care items and OTC products from Amerisource for personal use. It appeared that he didn’t pay for the items and also filed altered logs from the point-of-sale system to not take into account cash transactions, “resulting in significant cash shortages,” the arrest warrant stated.
By voiding 181 transactions from register logs and by filing altered documents, the overall theft totaled around $3400.
The OACE staff asked the pharmacy supervisor for a list of items purchased from Amerisource between July 1, 2014, and March 13, 2015. Olzinski’s list of products didn’t include 63 items that Amerisource reported as having been sent to the pharmacy. These items were mostly child and personal care items, which generally weren’t sold at the Student Health Services Pharmacy.
The audit discovered that 100 OTC items totaling more than $1800 were unaccounted for in 2015. From 2013 to 2015, unaccounted items totaled more than $5800.
Last summer, the police were informed that Olzinski might have been e-mailing another UConn employee to trade OTC medication for UConn athletic clothing.
A search and seizure warrant on August 26, 2015, led police to identify one of Olzinski’s friends who appeared to be e-mailing with the pharmacy supervisor about buying controlled substances to sell and keep. Police also found an e-mail from Olzinski’s wife that asked for products like Neutrogena baby sunscreen, diapers, and Nasonex on May 1, 2013.
Olzinski e-mailed back to her, “Can’t get your Neutrogena, but the rest are all set!”
On the same day of that e-mail, an order was placed with Amerisource for diapers and Neutrogena sunscreen. A similar string of events occurred after Olzinski’s wife asked for baby shampoo and conditioner.
When confronted by police in December 2015 about the personal care products, Olzinski denied doing anything wrong. However, he later said he ordered baby products for a pregnant student who was struggling financially.
“Olzinski stated that he felt bad for the student so he did not charge her,” the arrest warrant stated. “During the interview, Olzinski was presented with an e-mail from his wife with a list of products that included baby products, and he stated, ‘I thought I would help myself out, too.’”
He admitted to ordering products from Amerisource for his personal use about once or twice a month, according to the arrest warrant.
E-mails also revealed exchanges that suggested the pharmacy supervisor was selling controlled substances for money. He used code names like blueberries, star-spangled banners, dixies, and fruit.
OACE staff noted a shortage of 22 different controlled substances and their accompanying monetary losses of about $3000 to the university.
The audit also found 370 prescriptions during a 3-year period that seemed unusual in some way. For example, they might have been unsigned or dispensed in the name of a non-student.
The arrest warrant stated that 244 of the prescriptions appeared fraudulent. Some of the prescriptions were filled in the name of Michael Olzinski and 2 of his “associates,” the report stated.
Following interviews with prescribers, 203 of the prescriptions were found to be fraudulent or filled in violation of Student Health Services policy.
Olzinski provided a statement to the Department of Consumer Protection on May 28, 2015, when he surrendered his pharmacist license.
His statement read:
“I, Michael Olzinski, knowingly filled prescriptions for my friends and family at my workplace at UConn SHS Pharmacy, which has a policy of only filling Rx’s for students. I did so because of the convenience of doing so, and it was not in any way against the law. I recreated new Rx’s from previously authorized Rx's for some friends and family without properly contacting their physician and using a physician on staff some of the time. I further tested manufacturer vouchers by filling Rx’s for Farxiga, Viagra, and Cialis under my or another profile, but these medications were never dispensed and not properly reversed.”
In total, the 155 prescriptions that Olzinski allegedly filled for himself, his wife, 2 associates, and UConn students (which weren’t authorized by the prescribing physician) cost the university around $25,600. Prescription sample requests for items like Nasonex, Dulera, and Viagra were forged by Olzinski, as well, according to OACE staff.
Among the unpaid personal care items, the theft of cash from voided transactions, the fraudulent prescriptions, and the diversion of 22 different controlled substances, police estimated the university’s total loss at around $37,900.