Acting United States Attorney Susan Lehr announced that Danelle Charf, 49, of Neligh, Nebraska, was sentenced on November 20, 2023, in federal court in Omaha, Nebraska, for making a false, fictitious, and fraudulent statement in connection with health care services. Chief Judge Robert F. Rossiter sentenced Charf to two months’ imprisonment. There is no parole in the federal system. After Charf’s release from prison, she will begin a three-year term of supervised release. Charf was also ordered to pay $573,337.53 in restitution to Medicare and Medicaid.
Charf previously owned Wanek Pharmacy in Neligh, Nebraska, and Tilden Pharmacy in Tilden, Nebraska. Agents began investigating in the fall of 2020 after receiving a tip. Several current and former employees were interviewed by investigators. Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians who worked at the Wanek and/or Tilden Pharmacies reported that Charf was responsible for adjusting orders from suppliers so that brands were commonly unavailable. The witnesses corroborated the complainant’s report that the pharmacies were billing for name brand while dispensing generic medications. Employees also reported that Charf was submitting claims for prescriptions where the pharmacy anticipated that the prescription would not be filled by the customer and had not, in fact, been filled.
Investigators then chose some beneficiaries at random to interview and located beneficiaries who had been prescribed a name brand medication but were dispensed a generic. Investigators were able to photograph the medications with name brand prescription labels placed on generic medications.
An invoice review was done, comparing all of the claims submitted to Medicare and Medicaid by Wanek and Tilden Pharmacies to how much of the same drugs were ordered by the pharmacies during the same time period. Even excluding claims to private insurance companies, the reconciliation showed that Wanek did not have adequate purchases to support their claims for 1,032 of the 3,676 drugs reviewed, resulting in a loss of $369,837.38. Tilden did not have adequate purchases to support their claims for 612 of 1737 drugs reviewed, resulting in a loss of $203,500.15.
This case was investigated by the HHS Office of Inspector General and Nebraska Attorney General Office.