BAXLEY, Ga. (WTOC) - Two pharmacists have been charged after separate federal investigations involving fraud and diversion of drugs to non-patients.
The United States Department of Justice says 41-year-old Ray Dixon of Baxley is charged with conspiracy with objects of healthcare fraud and unlawful distribution of controlled substances, and 62-year-old Janice Colter of Darien is charged with false statements related to healthcare.
The DOJ says according to court documents, Dixon owned and operated Fulghum Discount Drugs in Baxley. The Drug Enforcement Agency and Department of Health and Human Services says that, beginning as early as January 2015 and continuing until at least October 2018, Dixon created fake prescriptions purportedly prescribing drugs to Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and billed those programs for the drugs. The DOJ also says he distributed controlled substances to individuals without a prescription from a physician.
Investigators say Colter was pharmacist in-charge of a pharmacy in Darien. They say from 2015 through 2017, she filled a large number of prescriptions for controlled substances from high-volume prescribers. Investigators say she say she made false documents in response to a review of her dispensing history.
“Healthcare professionals, such pharmacists who commit fraudulent crimes, sometimes prey on patients who are addicted to prescription opioids," Robert J. Murphy, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division, said in a release. “Some of these licensed practitioners dispense addictive substances under the guise of a ‘professional practice,’ when in actuality, they act like a common drug dealer. This successful investigation was a direct result of the collaboration between all law enforcement agencies involved and the U.S. Attorney’s Office."
The Appling County Sheriff’s Office also assisted in the investigations.
The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys J. Thomas Clarkson and Jonathan A. Porter. If convicted, prosecutors say Dixon and Colter each face up to five years in federal prison.