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Local pharmacist named in healthcare fraud indictment

A federal grand jury on Thursday, in a 103-count superseding indictment, charged a Fultondale, Alabama doctor, Paul Roberts, with conspiracy to prescribe controlled substances and participating in a healthcare fraud conspiracy with Demopolis pharmacist Stanley Reeves and Tuscaloosa sales representative Brett Taft, announced U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town, DEA Special Agent in Charge Stephen G. Azzam, and FBI Special Agent in Charge Johnnie Sharp, Jr.

Roberts, 46, of Fultondale is charged with multiple counts of conspiring and dispensing controlled substances without a legitimate medical purpose. Roberts is also charged with participating in a healthcare fraud conspiracy and scheme that involved delegating responsibility for seeing patients with opioid addictions to staff such as his X-ray technician and office manager, but billing Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama as though he personally saw the patients.

The indictment also charges Roberts, along with Reeves, 60, a pharmacist and owner of F&F Drugs in Demopolis, which closed earlier this year, as well as Taft, 45, with defrauding third-party administrators of health insurance plans of over $10.5 million in fraudulently billed compounded drugs.

Reeves is also charged with making false statements to federal agents and with tampering with a witness, and both Reeves and Taft are charged with spending the proceeds of health care fraud.

The indictment does not name Reeves as being involved in activity related to dispensing of controlled substances.

“Stan Reeves has faithfully served the people of West Alabama and people throughout Alabama as a pharmacist at F&F Drugs for over 20 years. The charges against him have absolutely nothing to do with opioids. Contrary to the Government’s allegations, Mr. Reeves did nothing wrong or in violation of any law and we expect him to be fully exonerated by a jury of his peers.” Reeves’ attorneys, Richard S. Jaffe and Michael Whisonant, of Jaffe, Hanle, Whisonant, & Knight said in a statement to Demopolis Times Friday afternoon.

“The U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners will continue to aggressively pursue doctors who demonstrate such blatant disregard for their patients’ well-being, and to prosecuting individuals who defraud the healthcare insurance plans that exist to help the citizens of this district pay for healthcare,” Town said.

“DEA is fully committed to the pursuit of any individual who abandons their oath as a medical professional,” Azzam said.  “We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners, the medical community and the public to identify and stop those responsible for endangering lives in our communities and bring them to justice.”

The maximum punishment for the dispensing controlled substances charges is 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

The maximum penalty for health care fraud and conspiracy charges is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.  The maximum penalty for the false statement charge is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.  The maximum penalty for the witness tampering charge is 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.  The maximum penalty for the spending proceeds of healthcare fraud charge is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

DEA and FBI investigated the cases, which Assistant U.S. Attorneys Austin Shutt and Chinelo Dike-Minor are prosecuting.