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Steven P. Gibson, 29, pharmacist and owner of Gibson’s Discount Drugs in Red Bud, Ill. pleaded guilty in federal court today to charges that he engaged in a scheme to defraud health-care benefit programs by submitting false claims for fraudulent prescription medications to Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance companies that were not authorized by a physician, nurse practitioner, or a physician’s assistant as required.

scalesofjusticelogoSentencing is set for Nov. 27. Gibson will face up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and up to three years of supervised release on each of the two counts to which he pled guilty.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said that during his plea hearing, Gibson admitted that he submitted false and fraudulent claims in the names of family members and pharmacy customers for prescription medication. Gibson often selected expensive prescription medications that he knew would be paid for by insurance companies (including Medicare and Medicaid). One such medication was Creon, a drug used to treat chronic pancreatitis. Another such medication was Pentasa, a drug used to treat ulcerative colitis. A third medication was Hydroxychloroquine, a drug used to treat or prevent malaria.

These and other prescription medications were not authorized by any physician, nurse practitioner, or physician’s assistant and were not dispensed to any of the family members or pharmacy customers. Instead, these “make believe” prescriptions were created by Gibson for the sole purpose of generating money.

In total, Gibson received payments of more than $630,000 from Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance companies.

The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General; the Illinois State Police, Medicaid Fraud Control Bureau; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Drug Enforcement Administration; United States Postal Inspection Service; and the National Insurance Crime Bureau. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael J. Quinley.