Prescription fraud is a serious offense that can end careers and result in serious jail time. It’s one the federal government goes after every day aggressively, and it hits pretty close to home.
If you have been accused of prescription fraud, you may be wondering what investigators will be looking for and how to defend against the charges. There are several key elements that prosecutors must prove in order to convict someone of this crime. In this blog post, I will explain what those elements are and offer some tips on how to defend against them.
Defining prescription fraud
Prescription fraud is a serious offense that affects many parties in the healthcare industry. It involves intentionally deceiving a medical practitioner or pharmacist when attempting to acquire controlled or illegal drugs without an official prescription, or by falsifying prescription records.
This illegal activity can come in the form of forging prescriptions, doctor shopping (going to multiple physicians to get multiple prescriptions), and even selling or trading prescription drugs with other individuals. Prescription fraud is a criminal offense and those caught engaging in it can face severe consequences ranging from jail time to hefty fines.
All medical practitioners must be aware of this potential problem so they can take steps to prevent fraudulent behavior from taking place in their practice.
The types of cases that tend to be investigated for potential fraud
Fraud investigations tend to be complex and require maximal discretion, often prompting careful consideration of the types of cases that should be looked into further. Typically, circumstances in which financial records are mismanaged or resources are funneled through improper channels lead investigators to suspect a fraudulent scheme is at play and warrant investigation.
In addition, sudden shifts in asset ownership or wide discrepancies between reported income/expenses may indicate an attempt to elude law enforcement by obscuring financial activity—which also necessitates an investigation.
As attorneys knowledgeable in these procedures, we are well-equipped to provide guidance throughout the investigative process in order to ensure accuracy and integrity in any matters concerning potential fraud.
How investigators look for fraud in prescriptions
When investigating possible fraud involving prescriptions, investigators must be highly alert and observant in order to identify any potential problems. They will look for clues such as patterns of repeat prescription requests from the same prescriber or patient, anomalies in dosing instructions that appear suspicious, abnormal amounts requested or dispensed, forged signatures indicating a lack of authorization for a prescription, and more.
Additionally, if the physician issuing the prescription does not have a legitimate need for the medication being prescribed, this may also be an indicator of fraud and should be carefully scrutinized by investigators.
Even with years of experience and specialized training in this arena, uncovering fraudulent schemes involving prescriptions can be extremely difficult – demonstrating why it is so important to establish proper protocols and safeguards designed to detect fraud before it becomes an issue.
Some possible defenses to charges of prescription fraud
Prescription fraud is a serious criminal charge that carries potentially severe consequences. Fortunately, some defenses to these charges may be available in certain cases.
Most commonly, these include showing that any prescriptions obtained were issued to the defendant in good faith by a medical professional upon issuance of a bona fide doctor-patient relationship; demonstrating intent to use the drugs for legal purposes; and providing evidence that the prescription was not obtained under false pretenses or with knowledge of falsified information.
Depending on the circumstances in each individual case, there may also be other possible defenses available, so it is wise to seek the advice of an experienced attorney if someone has been charged with prescription fraud.
Prescription Fraud Is a Serious Offense
Prescription fraud is a serious offense with potentially harsh penalties. However, if you have been accused of prescription fraud, it is important to remember that you have constitutional rights and there may be defenses available to you. An experienced criminal defense attorney can review the facts of your case and advise you of your legal options.
John Teakell is an attorney who brings that very experience to everything he touches. This includes prescription fraud cases. He knows how investigators approach these cases and what the best defenses are to earn acquittal or the best possible outcome for his clients. If you need an experienced attorney in your corner when facing these charges, contact him today!