Portland pharmacist sentenced for fraud scheme involving Costco - KPTV - FOX 12

Portland pharmacist sentenced for fraud scheme involving Costco fish oil pills

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Hung Viet Tran, jail booking photo Hung Viet Tran, jail booking photo

A Portland pharmacist was sentenced to 20 months in prison and ordered to pay $825,000 in restitution to the Medicare and Medicaid programs for a fraud scheme that went on for four years. 

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum reported Tuesday that Hung Viet Tran, 68, the sole pharmacist at Tran Pharmacy in northeast Portland, pleaded guilty to multiple felony counts of health care fraud.

The attorney general's office said over the course of four years, he billed Medicare and Medicaid for brand name prescription drugs that he never dispensed, or, in some cases, never refilled. 

Tran would dispense over-the-counter or cheaper generic drugs to his customers, according to investigators, but he would bill Medicare and Medicaid for the more expensive brand name prescription drugs. 

Investigators said one example of the fraud was Tran billing for the prescription Lovaza and TEVA Omega 3 fatty acids, but he would actually provide Costco fish oil capsules.

Those capsules cost 2.4 cents each, but Tran would be reimbursed $1.64 per capsule by Medicare.

The Department of Justice investigation revealed that Tran personally purchased around 70,000 Costco fish oil capsules over a four-year period.

The attorney general's office said Tran paid the $825,000 in restitution prior to being sentenced Tuesday.

The multi-agency investigation was conducted by the Oregon Department of Justice's Medicaid Fraud Unit and the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Investigations, with contributions from the Oregon Board of Pharmacy and the Portland Police Bureau.  

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