Fake Pharmacist Case Underscores Identity-Theft Dangers
For pharmacists, identity theft can threaten more than their bank accounts. It also can put patients in danger if someone uses a pharmacist’s Social Security number and other credentials to obtain a fraudulent license to dispense drugs.
That’s what happened in Florida, where Gregory Schleicher, a/k/a Gregory Klonowski, pleaded guilty recently to mail fraud, aggravated identity theft, and money laundering. According
to the plea agreement
, Schleicher fraudulently obtained a pharmacist license from the Florida Department of Health in September 2000 by using the name, date of birth, Social Security number, and pharmacy education of another individual who was a licensed pharmacist.
In 2011, the Florida Department of Health filed an administrative complaint against Schleicher, based on a report from a physician who treated a patient at a local hospital. The complaint alleged that Schleicher had dispensed incorrect medication, causing the patient to suffer a thyroid storm and a subsequent stroke.
Schleicher worked as a pharmacist in central Florida for 9 years, until July 2009, periodically renewing his pharmacy license, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He even changed his legal name to Allen Schleicher, the identity he had stolen, in 2004, the FBI said.
Schleicher faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison for the mail fraud charge, 10 years in federal prison for the money laundering charge, and a mandatory minimum sentence of 2 years’ imprisonment, consecutive to any other sentence, for the aggravated identity theft charge.
He also had to turn over his house to the government because it was purchased with the proceeds of his fraudulent conduct, including paychecks for his work as a pharmacist.