Drug and alcohol abuse can harm a person’s health and personal relationships, and interfere with his/her ability to work. An article posted on InsuranceNewsNet.com tells about a pharmacy owner who became addicted to prescription drugs and alcohol, and turned to fraud to finance his bad habits.

The story reports that the pharmacist became completely dysfunctional as a result of his drug and alcohol abuse and was unable to run his business. (This is a scary thought.) His 74-year-old mother, who handled the billing for his pharmacy chain, filed false bills with Medicare, Medicaid and Tricare for medications that were never distributed, hoping to keep the failing business afloat. (Mom, you should have known better. How about getting your son some help instead of illegally financing his bad habit?)

As part of a plea deal, both son and mom agreed to pay joint restitution of more than $350,000. The 45-year-old son was sentenced to two years in prison for committing health care fraud. He also will serve two years of supervised release following his prison term and is required to get substance abuse treatment. The pharmacist’s mom got three years of probation with 120 days home confinement and an electronic monitoring device. The pharmacist owner gave up his pharmacist license in Florida. (Let’s hope he didn’t have one in another state.)

Further research revealed this man originally had a dream to provide an alternative neighborhood pharmacy to rival the national chains that were taking over smaller family-owned pharmacies in town. (His intentions were good, but perhaps the pressure from competing against bigger businesses proved to be harder than he thought.) Things are not so sunny in the Sunshine State at the moment for this fraudster, but hopefully some time in prison to ponder his actions, plus some drug and alcohol rehabilitation, will allow him to get back on his feet and earn a living in a legitimate way.

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