AG Announces Arrest of Former Health Care Worker from Washington County

HARRISBURG – Attorney General Tom Corbett announced that agents from the Attorney General’s Insurance Fraud Section have filed charges against a former health care worker from Washington County accused of forging pre scri ptions for powerful pain medication and submitting false claims for the medication to his insurance company.

Corbett identified the defendant as James Henry Becker, 45, Canonsburg.

Corbett said that Becker allegedly stole blank pre scri ption pads from the VA Medical Center in Pittsburgh, where he worked as a surgical technician, in order to create fraudulent pre scri ptions for Vicodin, Lortab and other pre scri ption pain medications for his own use.

According to the criminal complaint, Becker presented 10 fraudulent pre scri ptions to four different pharmacies in Washington and Allegheny counties between June 2006 and March 2007. Payment claims for all 10 of these fraudulent pre scri ptions were processed by Becker’s health insurance provider, UPMC Health Plan.

The case was referred to the Attorney General’s Insurance Fraud Section in March 2007 by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and VA Police Department.

Corbett said that the VA doctors whose names appeared on the fraudulent pre scri ptions all indicated that they had not treated Becker and had never provided him with any pre scri ptions.

According to the criminal complaint, Becker claimed that obtaining drugs was, “one of the perks when you work in a hospital.”

Becker is charged with 10 counts of insurance fraud, a third-degree felony punishable by up to seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine; 10 counts of violating the controlled substance act (acquiring a controlled substance by misrepresentation, fraud, deception or subterfuge), a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $15,000 fine; and one count of forgery, a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Becker was arraigned today before Canonsburg Magisterial District Judge Jay H. Weller and lodged in the Washington County Prison in lieu of $25,000 bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Feb. 8, 2008, at 11 a.m., before Magisterial District Judge Weller.

Corbett said the case will be prosecuted in Washington County by Deputy Attorney General Jerome A. Orie of the Attorney General’s Insurance Fraud Section.

Corbett thanked the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs – Pittsburgh Healthcare System and the Veterans Affairs Police Department for their cooperation and assistance with this investigation.

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