Case in Point: Pharmaceutical Fraud

Diluting Crooked Pharmacist' Drug Treatment Tampering

By Ross Eldred, MBA; Stephen C. Del Vecchio, DBA, CFE, CPA; and Roy Greenway, CFE, CPA, CIA
Pharmacists who commit fraud by diluting prescriptions pose a serious threat to patients. Integrating new controls to stop these criminals in their tracks might save lives. 

Nobody suspected that Robert Courtney was capable of committing fraud. After all, his father was a preacher; he spent his early years enveloped in a world of Christian values in Hays, Kan. His childhood was stable. His family was supportive. After high school, Courtney earned a pharmacy degree and eventually went on to own and operate the Research Medical Tower Pharmacy in Kansas City, Mo. By the time he was in his late thirties, he owned a second pharmacy. Courtney had achieved his lifelong dream of becoming a successful pharmacist and he displayed a lavish lifestyle to prove it. 

His first indulgence was a Mercedes, a purchase that launched his grandiose obsession with owning "only the best." Next, he bought an enormous house in the upscale Tremont Manor Enclave, located in northern Kansas City. If material possessions indicate happiness, anyone would have believed that Courtney was in a state of perpetual bliss. However, his personal life told a different story as the emotional effects of committing an unthinkable fraud surfaced. Just prior to purchasing his second pharmacy in 1990, Courtney, then 38, divorced his wife and retained custody of his two daughters. Shortly thereafter, he used his ostentation to attract another woman and, after just four months of dating, Courtney proposed with a four-carat diamond engagement ring. They eloped just after Christmas in 1990, less than a year after his first divorce.

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