A physician, a pharmacist and 15 others have been charged with bilking Medicare and Medi-Cal out of millions of dollars in an elaborate prescription drug fraud that resulted in the government paying over and over for the same pills.
Using stolen or illegally obtained Medicare beneficiary cards, members of the ring known as “runners” would obtain prescriptions for expensive drugs from Kenneth Wayne Johnson, a Glendale physician, according to a criminal complaint unsealed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.
The runners would fill the prescriptions at pharmacies using the stolen Medicare cards and then funnel the drugs back to other pharmacies involved in the scheme, the complaint alleges. Those pharmacies would then repackage, relabel and dispense the drugs, often — again — to ring members using stolen Medicare cards, the complaint says.
The medications favored by the ring were anti-psychotic drugs, such as Seroquel and Zyprexa, for which Medicare pays pharmacies up to $2,800 a bottle.