Two South Georgia pharmacists have been charged in separate federal investigations involving fraud and diversion of drugs to non-patients. Janice Colter, 62, of Darien, Ga., is charged with false statements related to healthcare. Ray Ashley Dixon, 41, of Baxley, Ga., is charged with conspiracy with objects of healthcare fraud and unlawful distribution of controlled substances.
Colter, served as pharmacist-in-charge of a pharmacy in Darien. From 2015 through 2017, Colter filled a large number of prescriptions for controlled substances from high-volume prescribers. In response to a review of her dispensing history, which included a focus on select high-prescribing physicians, Colter drafted documents that contained false and fraudulent statements, which the Drug Enforcement Administration would review as part of any regulatory compliance audit.
Dixon owned and operated Fulghum Discount Drugs in Baxley. An investigation by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) uncovered that beginning as early as January 2015 and continuing until at least October 2018, Dixon created fake prescriptions purportedly prescribing drugs to Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries and billed those programs for the drugs. In addition, Dixon distributed controlled substances to individuals without a prescription from a physician.
“Healthcare professionals, such pharmacists who commit fraudulent crimes, sometimes prey on patients who are addicted to prescription opioids," Robert J. Murphy, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division, said in a release. “Some of these licensed practitioners dispense addictive substances under the guise of a ‘professional practice,’ when in actuality, they act like a common drug dealer. This successful investigation was a direct result of the collaboration between all law enforcement agencies involved and the U.S. Attorney’s Office."
The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys J. Thomas Clarkson and Jonathan A. Porter. If convicted, prosecutors say Dixon and Colter each face up to five years in federal prison.