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Boston pharmacist pleads guilty to fraud

Man faces jail, fine in $204,000 Medicaid scheme

By Milton J. Valencia
Globe Staff / July 21, 2011

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A Dorchester pharmacist pleaded guilty in federal court yesterday to conspiracy to defraud the US government by submitting more than $204,000 in false claims to Medicaid, a federally funded program.

Ernest McGee, 40, had not been officially charged in an indictment, but pleaded guilty to what is called an information, which essentially sums up the accusations.

He is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 25 and faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Prosecutors said that McGee, an assistant pharmacist at Codman Square Pharmacy on Washington Street, worked with pharmacy owner Amadiegwu Onujiogu in the scheme. They allegedly paid customers to bring physician-signed prescriptions to the pharmacy and charged Medicaid for those prescriptions, but did not dispense the medications to the customers.

According to authorities, the two solicited and paid cash for prescriptions from particularly downtrodden customers such as the homeless, AIDS patients, and drug addicts. The customers received payments that ranged from one-tenth to one-third of the amount the pharmacy would bill Medicaid. Since the medications were not dispensed, the customers did not receive or take the medications as prescribed.

Authorities said they seized records from the pharmacy showing that Onujiogu and McGee fraudulently billed more than $204,000 to Medicaid for prescriptions that were not covered.

Onujiogu pleaded guilty last month and was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison.

Milton Valencia can be reached at Valencia@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @MiltonValencia.