Pharmacist Indicted in $50K Medicaid Scheme

January 31, 2015
Meghan Ross, Associate Editor

A pharmacist in Bessemer, Alabama, has been indicted for Medicaid fraud after allegedly scheming with the mother of a terminally ill child, according to Georgia Attorney General Luther Strange's office.

A pharmacist in Bessemer, Alabama, has been indicted for Medicaid fraud after allegedly scheming with the mother of a terminally ill child, according to Georgia Attorney General Luther Strange’s office.

Alan Bruce Connell, the ex-owner of Westlake Pharmacy, is charged with 4 counts of filing false claims with the Alabama Medicaid Agency and 1 count of first-degree theft of property, according to a press release. The 68-year-old pharmacist allegedly billed Medicaid for more than $50,000 in medicine that was never dispensed.

The plan entailed having the mother taking her child’s prescriptions for Zenpep and Pulmozyme to Connell, who would then submit a claim for reimbursement and give the mother cash. Authorities learned that Connell’s pharmacy did not have enough of the medication in stock to be able to dispense the amount he billed, according to the attorney general’s office.

Zenpep can be used to help individuals who have cystic fibrosis, pancreatitis, or digestive disorders, while Pulmozyme is often used with other medicines to treat cystic fibrosis.

No charges for the mother were listed in the attorney general’s statement.

Connell was released from jail on a $5000 bond on January 27, 2015, according to AL.com. He could see 5 years in prison for Medicaid fraud; his first-degree theft charge could carry a 2- to 20-year prison sentence.