Former Pharmacy Technician Pleads Guilty to Health Care Fraud

HUNTSVILLE—A Rainbow City woman pleaded guilty today to health care fraud totaling more than $330,000 for illegal prescription reimbursements she received while working as a pharmacy technician at a discount department store in East Gadsden, U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and FBI Special Agent in Charge Patrick Maley announced.

CHARLOTTE TURLEY, 52, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge C. Lynwood Smith Jr. to four counts of health care fraud and agreed to forfeit at least $331,118 to the government as proceeds of illegal activity. A federal grand jury indicted TURLEY on the fraud charges in April.

“When someone steals money intended to pay legitimate claims, it results in higher overall health insurance costs to everyone,” Vance said. “We intend to be vigilant in detecting and prosecuting this type of crime. Would-be health care criminals are not welcome in Alabama.”

According to TURLEY’s plea agreement, she schemed to defraud Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama between June 2005 and July 2008 while she worked at an East Gadsden K-Mart store. As a pharmacy technician, TURLEY entered insurance claim information for prescription drugs into the store’s computer system. TURLEY acknowledged in her plea agreement that she entered false information to reflect she received prescriptions that were never prescribed, and that she received reimbursements from Blue Cross and Blue Shield for the fake prescriptions.

The defendant faces maximum sentences of 10 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000 on each count. Sentencing is scheduled Nov. 18 at 11 a.m.

The FBI investigated the case. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lloyd Peeples and Henry Cornelius.