This week, United States Attorney Kevin E. VanderSchel announced that a Bettendorf, Iowa doctor had pleaded guilty to 18 counts of false statements connected to health care matters, as well as five counts of introduction of misbranded drugs. The defendant also pleaded guilty to a single count of false statements relating to health care matters for actions taking place in California.
On August 22, 2017, 45-year-old Dr. Paul Matthew Bolger of Bettendorf, Iowa pleaded guilty. Bolger is scheduled to be sentenced on January 9, 2018 at the Davenport Federal Courthouse. Bolger admitted to making false statements by signing prescription forms authorizing drugs and indicating prescriptions were medically necessary. Bolger signed and confirmed the validity of each prescription based solely on an intake form submitted by non-medical staff and an associated prescription form.
In many cases, the intake forms were generated by call centers located outside of the United States. Bolger signed the forms without consulting with the patient, performing a physical exam or reviewing medical records. The signed prescription forms were subsequently faxed to the Florida pharmacy, DCRX, or a California pharmacy, Haoeyou. The prescriptions were filled and mailed to the patients. The pharmacies then billed Tricare, which is the federal healthcare benefit program for United States military members and their dependents.
In return, Tricare reimbursed the pharmacies for the fraudulent compounded medication prescriptions. From March to April of 2015, Bolger authorized 1,375 prescriptions for compounded medications. 284 patients were responsible for 763 prescriptions that were ultimately filled by DCRX. For those prescriptions, Tricare paid roughly $2,920,354. Haoeyou filled 112 prescriptions for 32 patients. For those prescriptions, Tricare paid approximately $566,836.
Also, Bolger wrote prescriptions for patients in 16 states, despite not being licensed in those states. The prescriptions were also misbranded. Bolger admitted to issuing misbranded prescriptions for 11 Alabama patients, costing Tricare $268,000. Around 105 patients residing in states where Bolger was licensed received prescriptions that had been authorized by Bolger. Tricare paid around $681,000 for those prescriptions.
Bolger is now facing a maximum penalty of five years in prison for each count relating to false statements. He also faces a maximum penalty of one year in prison for misbranding. The defendant will also face supervised release and fines. Again, Bolger is scheduled to be sentenced in January of 2018.