LONG BEACH / Audit: State overpaid pharmacy for phony Rx
The state overpaid Kings Pharmacy of Long Beach by $715,000 for phony prescriptions over a roughly 18- month period, according to an audit released Wednesday in connection with a long-running health care scandal.
State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli conducted the audit to quantify the state's losses in the scandal involving Jay Kirshner, the former owner of the pharmacy. Earlier this month Kirshner pleaded guilty to health care fraud and was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $2.4 million in restitution.
DiNapoli's report found that the New York State Health Insurance Program paid the pharmacy for cancer treatment prescriptions that physicians denied ever preparing, and that many of the signatures on prescriptions were forged. The audit covered prescriptions paid between Jan. 1, 2008, and July 9, 2009.
"In this case, because of just one pharmacy's greed, patients and taxpayers got their pockets picked to the tune of nearly three-quarters of a million dollars. It's an outrage," DiNapoli said.
-- YANCEY ROY
BRENTWOOD / Fire district, department settle discrimination suit
The Brentwood Fire District and its fire department have agreed to pay $465,000 to settle a class age discrimination lawsuit, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said Wednesday.
The EEOC's lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, charged that "between 1990 and 2004, the Brentwood Fire District and Brentwood Fire Department prohibited volunteer firefighters over age 62 from accruing credit toward a 'length of service award,' the equivalent of a retirement pension, because of their age," according to an agency news release.
That policy meant that senior firefighters kept working but did not receive credit for their service after age 62, the release said.
The EEOC said the policy violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, a federal law that aims to protect workers 40 and older from age discrimination.
The agreement eliminates the Brentwood district's age restriction on service credit, mandates training for the people responsible for implementing the program, and institutes an anti-discrimination policy.
The 28 volunteer firefighters who had been barred from receiving credit for their service because of their age will receive retroactive payments, the agency said.
The settlement also allows for an increased monthly pension payment to 20 of the firefighters who are still alive, the release said.
-- GARY DYMSKI
LONG ISLAND / New charges for man charged in bank robbery
A West Babylon man charged in September in a Nassau County bank robbery has been arrested in four bank robberies in Suffolk, including one in which he strapped a simulated bomb to his body, police said Wednesday.
William Loughlin, 59, robbed four banks in two months last year, including a Chase bank in West Babylon on July 26, when he wore a simulated explosive device, Suffolk County police said in news release.
The robber did not wear the device in the other heists -- the same West Babylon Chase bank on Aug. 31; the HSBC Bank, 160 Walt Whitman Rd., Huntington Station, on July 16; and the HSBC Bank, 5880 Route 25, Commack, on Aug. 10, police said.
He was charged with three counts of first-degree robbery and one count of third-degree robbery, police said.
-- GARY DYMSKI