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Red Bud pharmacy owner pleads guilty to health care fraud charges

Herald tribune staff report
updated: 8/22/2018 8:51 AM

A Red Bud pharmacy owner pleaded guilty in federal court Aug. 14 to charges that he engaged in a scheme to defraud health care benefit programs, according to U.S. attorney's office for the Southern District of Illinois.

Steven P. Gibson, 29, a pharmacist and owner of Gibson's Discount Drugs in Red Bud, admitted that he submitted false and fraudulent claims in the names of family members and pharmacy customers for prescription medication, to Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance companies, according to a release from the U.S. attorney's office. The scripts were not authorized by a physician, nurse practitioner, or a physician assistant as required.

The U.S. attorney said 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.

In total, Gibson received payments of over $630,000 from Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance companies, according to the release.

Sentencing is set for Nov. 27, at which time Gibson could 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 pleaded guilty.

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 U.S. Attorney Michael J. Quinley.