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Robeson County Pharmacy Operator Pleads Guilty To Healthcare Fraud

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WILMINGTON – A Pembroke woman pleaded guilty Thursday to Conspiracy to Commit Healthcare Fraud.

According to court documents, Melisha Oxendine West pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud. The charge to which West pled guilty alleges that from 2006 through July of 2017, West was employed at Townsend’s Pharmacy, located at 111 S. Main Street in Red Springs. During that time, West conspired with the owner of the pharmacy and others to bill fraudulent claims to Medicare, Medicaid, and private health insurers, such as Blue Cross and Blue Shield of NC. According to the charge, West and others did this by fraudulently reauthorizing previously existing prescriptions from licensed medical providers, and billing health care benefit programs as though those drugs had been dispensed.

West pleaded guilty to a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349, and faces a statutory maximum of 10 years in prison and a fine amounting to as much as twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. The sentencing before United States District Judge Louise W. Flanagan will not occur earlier than 90 days from Thursday.

Michael Easley, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina made the announcement after United States Magistrate Judge Robert Jones accepted the plea. The United States Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General is investigating the case and Assistant U.S. Attorney William M. Gilmore is prosecuting the case.