Brunswick Eye Care Associates has agreed to pay a $16,343 fine for using income from federal sources to pay the salary and benefits of a woman previously convicted for stealing drugs while employed as a pharmacy technician, officials said Monday.

The fine is to resolve allegations the company submitted false claims to Medicare, TRICARE, the Department of Veterans Affairs and MaineCare, then “improperly used a portion of the funds received from these programs” to pay the employee, who was excluded from federal health care programs and the MaineCare program because of her criminal history.

Under federal law, federal health care programs may not pay, directly or indirectly, for items or services furnished, ordered, or prescribed by excluded individuals or entities.

Brunswick Eye Care officials failed to ask the woman if she was excluded before hiring her, and didn’t check a public database of excluded providers, according to a release from acting U.S. Attorney Richard W. Murphy.

Brunswick Eye Care Associates reached the civil settlement agreement with the United States and the state of Maine.

“By failing to abide by the requirements of the MaineCare and Federal health care programs regarding the employment of excluded individuals, BECA acted with reckless disregard of the falsity of the claims it submitted to MaineCare and Federal health care programs,” the release read.

Noel K. Gallagher can be reached at 791-6387 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: noelinmaine

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