Police: Ex-Ligonier pharmacist illegally wrote himself prescriptions
A former Walmart staff pharmacist from Ligonier who worked at stores in Indiana, Somerset and Westmoreland counties was charged by state police with fraudulently writing prescriptions to himself for more than three years.
State police in Indiana charged Richard Wisz, 65, with 24 counts of illegal administration and dispensing prescriptions, 60 counts each of insurance fraud, theft, forgery and violation of the controlled substance act following a nine-month investigation by state police and the Pennsylvania Department of State Bureau of Enforcement and Investigation, Trooper Clifford Greenfield said.
Greenfield said in court documents that on Dec. 20 troopers at the Indiana station were contacted by Walmart “in reference to suspicious activity involving Mr. Richard Wisz.”
Troopers interviewed Wisz and obtained records from Walmart and the state indicating Wisz used information from “at least” two doctors to fraudulently obtain prescriptions for his own personal use. In addition to listing himself as the patient, police allege Wisz also listed the names of his wife and son on prescriptions.
“He would also write himself prescriptions without any provider or physician permission,” Greenfield said.
The fraudulent prescriptions were written between March 2014 and Dec. 12, 2017, according to court documents.
Police allege Wisz fraudulently obtained more than 50 various prescriptions including multiple prescriptions for sedatives Zolpidem, Alprazolam and Lorazepam. He is also accused of fraudulently billing four insurance companies to obtain the prescriptions, Greenfield said.
According to an affidavit of probable cause filed by Trooper Allison J. Goswick, Wisz denied to state investigators he was selling the drugs and said they were for his own use. Goswick reported that Wisz told investigators that he got a prescription from his own physician for his medical issues “but that in his opinion they didn’t work.”
“(Wisz) did advise he was under a lot of stress and having problems sleeping,” Goswick wrote in the affidavit.
Wisz has no prior disciplinary actions and his license is still listed as active, according to online records from the Department of State’s Bureau of Professional Licensing. It is slated to expire Sept. 30.
State police said charges involving the Walmart stores in the three counties were consolidated in complaints filed Friday before Blairsville District Judge Jennifer Rega. Wisz was released on $25,000 unsecured bond pending a preliminary hearing Sept. 10 before Rega.
Paul Peirce is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Paul at 724-850-2860, [email protected] or via Twitter @ppeirce_trib.