Former Salem pharmacist gets prison time

Staff report


A former Salem pharmacist has been sentenced to two years in federal prison and ordered to pay more than $300,000 in restitution after pleading guilty to health-care fraud.

Bruce E. Franken, 53, will also be on supervised release for three years upon his release.

Between May 14, 2009, and July 14, 2011, Franken worked as a pharmacist at the J.H. Lease Pharmacy, 229 N. Ellsworth Ave., and filled $301,550 worth of prescriptions for Medicaid recipients he wasn’t authorized to fill, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

Medicaid was billed for and paid those prescriptions that were a result of Franken’s unauthorized and fraudulent claims, federal prosecutors added.

In 2003, Franken was excluded from participating in all federal health-care programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, for a minimum of 10 years because of a felony conviction.

Franken’s case was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Chelsea Rice and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Constance Nearhood after an investigation by the health-care fraud section of the Ohio Attorney General’s office and the inspector general’s office at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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