Carl Dean

by Pete Mazzaccaro

Chestnut Hill’s newest pharmacist, Carl Dean, turned himself in to Montgomery County authorities last Friday for allegedly bilking Independence Blue Cross out of $86,000 in fraudulent prescriptions.

Dean, who lives in Erdenheim, faces eight counts of insurance fraud and other related charges, including forgery, theft and deceptive business practices, according to a news release from the Montgomery County District Attorney’s office.

The charges stem from a pharmacy Dean owned in Blue Bell, not in Chestnut Hill. The Chestnut Hill Pharmacy is owned by Mark Lawson, who employs Dean. The Blue Bell pharmacy was sold by Dean earlier this year

According to the District Attorney’s news release, Dean collected reimbursements for 874 fraudulent prescriptions totaling $86,070.88, all of which were billed to Independence Blue Cross between 2007 and 2010.

Dean allegedly filled out the prescriptions in his name and the names of his wife and two daughters to collect the money, which went into the pharmacy business. Investigators tracked down the payments by interviewing 13 doctors whose names were used in the fake prescription orders.

Dean was released on $5,000 bail and will be formally arraigned in January.

Dean’s attorney, William Winning told the Local that he was optimistic that Dean’s charges would be settled “satisfactorily.” Winning said Dean had already made full restitution of the money and was cooperating fully with Montgomery County authorities.

Winning told the Local that Dean would enter a not guilty plea despite the fact that making full restitution to Independence Blue Cross is tantamount to an admission of guilt.

Winning’s statements were supported by the affidavit of Montgomery County detective Michael Gilbert, who reported that Dean asked to repay the amount taken when first confronted by Independence Blue Cross investigators in April. Dean also turned over to Gilbert in September a spreadsheet detailing the fraudulent prescriptions, according to the affidavit.

Lawson, owner of the Chestnut Hill Pharmacy and Dean’s employer, told he Local by e-mail that he would keep Dean as his manager.

“I hope the community will continue to support Chestnut Hill Pharmacy as I have invested a lot in this community,” he said.

The initial story of Dean’s predicament published on chestnuthilllocal.com elicited support from at least one reader who criticized the Local for running the story, albeit behind the anonymity of first-name-only online comments.

One reader, “Emily,” wrote: “The reputation of a very good man and a budding independent business are at stake here. Is this not counter to the moral thread of Chestnut Hill – supporting its residents and small businesses? I am disappointed. I stand in support of Mr. Dean and of Chestnut Hill Pharmacy.”