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Hagerstown pharmacist sentenced to more than two years for drug fraud

David Russo was also ordered to pay a $50,000 fine, restitution of $200,146 and forfeit $39,000 in cash seized

August 22, 2013
  • David M. Russo
File photo

BALTIMORE — A Hagerstown pharmacist who previously pleaded guilty to fraudulently selling powerful pain killers and billing Medicare and Medicaid for nearly $200,000 was sentenced in federal court on Thursday to more than two years in prison.

David Russo, 62, of Hagerstown was sentenced to 30 months in prison followed by one year of supervised release, according to a news release from the office of U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein.

Russo was also ordered to pay a $50,000 fine, restitution of $200,146 and forfeit $39,000 in cash seized during a search of his pharmacy in 2010, Rosenstein said in the release.

Under his plea agreement, Russo has surrendered his pharmacy license and has agreed not to seek a new license in Maryland or any other state, Rosenstein said.

“Russo’s career as a pharmacist is over,” Gary Tuggle, assistant special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Baltimore office, said in the release.

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Russo previously admitted that he filed prescriptions for oxycodone, methadone and benzodiazepines that he knew were “outside of the legitimate medical course,” and billed Medicare and Medicaid for the cost, authorities said.

The fraudulent conduct occurred while he was the owner of Russo’s Rx at 25 N. Cannon Ave. from January 2009 to December 2010.

Russo made gross sales of $700,000 a month for several months in 2010, which was a dramatic increase over previous months, the release said.

Law-enforcement officials said he also made at least 55 cash deposits totaling $862,000 from Dec. 1, 2009, to June 15, 2010.

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