||In April and July 2000 Respondent was charged in Allegheny County with a total of 326 counts of Insurance Fraud, Violation of the Pharmacy Act and Theft by Deception. On January 30, 2002, Respondent entered a plea of guilty to five counts of Violation of the Pharmacy Act. Respondent admitted to having procured for himself or another, by fraud, deceit, misrepresentation or subterfuge, on several occasions from February 1997 through January 1999, drugs such as Toradol, Ultram and Ibuprofen. None of the drugs in question were controlled substances.
On April 25, 2002, Respondent was sentenced to serve a total period of incarceration of six to twelve months in alternative housing and a total period of probation of three years to be served consecutive to the period of incarceration. Respondent was also ordered to pay restitution of $14,163.72 to Highmark, Inc. the remaining counts were nolle prossed.
Respondent has no prior record of discipline. Respondent failed to appear for the disciplinary hearing.
|Points of Law
||Although the Hearing Committee recommended disbarment based upon the nature of Respondent’s misconduct, the lack of mitigating factors and the existence of the aggravating factor of his failure to appear, the Disciplinary Board declined to recommend to the Supreme Court that Respondent be disbarred. “Respondent’s crime, while quite serious, did not involve clients or the legal profession, nor did it involve misrepresentations or dishonesty to the court or his clients. While his failure to appear at the hearing and offer testimony deprived the Hearing Committee of the opportunity to assess the circumstances of the conviction and any remorse or steps taken to change his life since his conviction, this does not aggravate the matter to the level of disbarment.”