Prescription discount business owner pleads guilty - Cincinnati News, Weather, Sports from FOX19 NOW-WXIX

Prescription discount business owner pleads guilty to wire fraud

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -

A Sycamore Township man pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court Monday to wire fraud for operating a scheme promising to help people obtain free prescription drugs through his company, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced.

According to court documents, Thomas Fenske marketed his Queen City Script Care in Blue Ash as a business that could help individuals obtain free prescription drugs through pharmaceutical manufacturers patient assistance programs.

Fenske, 35, and others at his direction recruited hundreds of customers for Queen City Script Care, often at senior health fairs and retirement communities. Many of Fenske's customers were senior citizens on a fixed income who either could not afford their prescription medication or who had high prescription drug costs.

Fenske charged customers an initial fee and monthly fee for his services.

The monthly fee depended upon the number of prescription drugs a customer received and generally ranged from $30 to $50 per month. Fenske required all of his monthly customers to submit to automatic withdrawals from their bank accounts.

Fenske falsely represented that customers could cancel their membership at any time and could receive a refund if they did not qualify for assistance through a patient assistance program. or did not receive their medication.

Unbeknownst to customers, Fenske debited some customers' bank accounts multiple times a month without the customers' approval. The unauthorized debits of customer accounts totaled between $30,000 and $70,000 and involved more than 50 victims, but less than 250 victims.

Wire fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Judge Susan Dlott will determine the sentence following a pre-sentence investigation by the court.  Dlott could also order Fenske to pay restitution to the victims.

In a separate case, Ohio Attorney Mike DeWine last September sued Queen City Script Care, Fenske and Theresa Fenske of Norwood in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court.

The lawsuit alleges Queen City Script Care made unauthorized debits to consumers' bank accounts, failed to provide refunds and took unfair advantage of consumers. Many victims were elderly and low-income. The case is pending.

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