Chris Carr (left), shown addressing reporters in 2016 upon his appointment by Gov. Nathan Deal to serve as Georgia attorney general. AJC FILE PHOTO
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Pharmacist pleads guilty in Georgia elder fraud case

A pharmacist must pay $2 million after he pleaded guilty to a charge related to his role in an alleged scheme to exploit elderly and disabled adults in Albany and Macon, according to Attorney General Chris Carr.

Carr said Tuesday that Perry Kirka, the owner of Paylow Pharmacy, pleaded guilty to one count of identity fraud. Kirka dispensed medications to Georgia Medicaid recipients and sought reimbursement without ensuring that residents received the prescriptions, according to Carr’s office.

“We will not tolerate the abuse, neglect or exploitation of older or at-risk Georgians in our state, period,” Carr said in a statement. “Those who commit these horrific crimes will be prosecuted.”

Kirka dispensed medications to residents at Miracle One Care Center Inc., an unlicensed personal care home in Albany where 14 elderly and disabled adults were allegedly denied food and adequate medical treatment. 

Kirka will assist the government in its prosecution against two other defendants: Michelle Oliver, who operated Miracle One; and Cynthia Riley, a nurse practitioner who prescribed medications to residents  at Miracle One.

“Perry Kirka tried to provide medical care to a very challenging patient population,” said his attorney, Page Pate. “He never saw the conditions of this particular home and certainly never meant to exploit any resident there.”

Kirka agreed that he should have been more careful to ensure that patients received their medications, Pate said.

Kirka pleaded guilty to using the identity of one of the residents of Miracle One to dispense a medication to Riley, according to the Attorney General’s Office. Kirka will pay the $2 million in restitution to the Georgia Department of Community Health.

Another defendant, Harold Hunt, previously pleaded guilty to a racketeering charge and is awaiting sentencing.

“This is a warning to others who would prey upon the vulnerable in our society — you will be found and you will be brought to justice,” said Dougherty Judicial Circuit District Attorney Greg Edwards.

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