|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2010
CONTACT: LOLA POTTER
OVERTON CO. PHARMACIST PLEADS GUILTY, ORDERED TO REPAY TENNCARE AND OTHERS IN DRUG FRAUD CASE
LARGEST DRUG AND ASSET FORFEITURE CASE IN OVERTON CO. HISTORY
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The owner of an Overton County pharmacy has pleaded guilty to six felony counts, including TennCare fraud, in Overton County Criminal Court.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the plea, which was entered in the courtroom of Judge David Patterson.
Pharmacist Malcolm D. Clark, 65, of Livingston, pleaded guilty to these charges:
Clark was ordered to pay over $248,000 to the Overton County Sheriff’s Department, over $48,000 in restitution to TennCare, over $47,000 to the Office of Inspector General, and $39,000 to Overton County. All firearms and ammunition seized from Clark was also surrendered to the Overton County Sheriff’s Department. Clark was further ordered to ‘retire’ his Tennessee Pharmacy license, and forfeit the building that his pharmacy was located to the Overton County Sheriff’s Department.
In a plea agreement, Clark was sentenced to ten years of supervised probation.
“Clark's Pharmacy was a problem for the Livingston community and the surrounding area for several years,” Inspector General Deborah Faulkner said. “It was one of the first things I heard about from citizens when we formed this office six years ago.
“Having a full court press made the difference in this case, as none of the agencies involved and especially the OIG would let up until we carried the case to the end.”
During sentencing, Judge Patterson said Clark had, in his words, “Breached the family values of the Overton County community and contributed to the devastation in the Upper Cumberland concerning drug abuse and addiction.” Judge Patterson also cautioned the former pharmacist against any probation violations during the next ten-year sentence.
Clark was indicted in October 2007 on over 300 counts of drug related charges. The OIG and the Overton County Sheriff’s Office obtained indictments against Clark, doing business as Clark’s Medical Center Pharmacy, stemming from numerous undercover investigations led by Detective Greg Etheredge, who is now Chief of Police in the City of Livingston.
“Other state and federal agencies joined in the investigation including the Office of Attorney General for the 13th Judicial District, DEA, IRS, ATF, Tennessee Department of Revenue, Tennessee Attorney General’s Office and the Tennessee Department of Safety,” Etheredge said.
“This is a great example of what happens when agencies work together towards a common goal.” District Attorney General Randy York said.
The OIG, which is separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has investigated cases leading to over $2.5 million paid in restitution and recoupment to TennCare, with a total estimated cost avoidance of over $171 million for the TennCare program, according to latest figures. To date, over 1,100 people have been charged with TennCare fraud.
Through the OIG Cash for Tips Program established by the Legislature, Tennesseans can get cash rewards for TennCare fraud tips that lead to convictions. Anyone can report suspected TennCare fraud by calling 1-800-433-3982 toll-free from anywhere in Tennessee, or log on to www.tn.gov/tnoig and follow the prompts that read "Report TennCare Fraud."