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March 08, 2004
St. John Pharmacist Charged in Medicaid Fraud Case

COLFAX -- The former operator of the St. John Pharmacy, James Craig Hudkins, was charged today with nine counts of first-degree theft for allegedly billing the state Medicaid program in 2002 and 2003 for prescription medications he did not provide to patients.

The Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) filed the charges in Whitman County Superior Court. Each count, which is a Class B felony carrying a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and/or a $20,000 fine, represents a month of fraudulent billings covering November 2002 and January-August 2003.

According to court papers filed in the case, Hudkins is accused of billing the Medicaid program for nearly $300,000 worth of prescription drugs, even though there is no record that the pharmacy had the expensive and specialized medications in stock. The MFCU began its investigation last October after receiving a referral from auditors at the state Department of Social and Health Services, which oversees the state Medicaid program.

According to the court papers, the St. John Pharmacy was repossessed from Hudkins last September after Hudkins defaulted on a purchase agreement.

An arraignment date in the case has been set for April 2.


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