Florida Attorney General Charlie Crist on Friday praised the Florida Legislature for passing important new legislation that will enhance the state’s ability to target Medicaid prescription drug fraud.
Senate Bill 1064, which creates criminal penalties for buying, selling or trafficking in Medicaid prescriptions, will authorize the Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution to investigate and prosecute Medicaid prescription fraud.
“Prescription drug fraud has become an ever-increasing contributor to drug addiction and drug deaths,” said Crist. “The increasing cost in human life and in taxpayer dollars means that targeting this crime is an issue whose time has come.”
Under the bill, criminal charges would be classified according to the value of the drugs: a third-degree felony for drugs valued at less than $20,000, a second-degree felony for drugs valued from $20,000 to $100,000, and a first-degree felony for drugs valued at $100,000 or more. The legislation grew out of a report by a statewide grand jury looking into prescription abuse and fraud.
Crist thanked the bill’s sponsors: Senators Mike Fasano, Burt Saunders, and David Aronberg and Representatives Gus Bilirakis and Frank Farkas, for their work in gaining passage of the legislation, as well as Senate President King and House Speaker Byrd.
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