Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Medicaid recipients may be selling drugs

From the state capitals

FRANKFORT - Some Medicaid recipients in Kentucky are using their benefits to sell prescription drugs illegally for profit or to supply their own addictions, authorities say.

Police and prosecutors in rural Kentucky say the state- and federally funded program that helps more than 670,000 of the state's elderly, poor and disabled is a significant source of drugs that have ravaged the region.

It's impossible to estimate the degree to which Medicaid is used to funnel prescription drugs into Kentucky's black market.

Medicaid spending on the most popular painkillers - such as OxyContin and Vicodin - went from $1.1 million to $6 million since 1997, according to a state database of prescription records.

Former pension fund officer sentenced

INDIANAPOLIS - A former top state pension fund administrator was sentenced Monday to 10 years in prison on federal charges that included embezzling more than $600,000 from a former employer and misusing another person's Social Security number.

Walter Kevin Scott resigned last year as chief benefits officer of the Public Employees' Retirement Fund after state officials learned he had used identity information of a person with the same name to pass a criminal background check for his job.

Scott, who pleaded guilty in 1996 to bank and mail fraud for stealing the identities of two Ohio residents, said in court Monday that he planned to seek counseling.

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