On April 20, 2016, former University of Connecticut pharmacy supervisor Michael Olzinski was arrested for fraud and distributing controlled substances to his friends and family for almost a decade while employed by the university.
Olzinski, who started his career at UConn in 1999, was put on administrative leave in 2015 for an investigation into purchase records that did not match up. He resigned on June 8, 2015. It was found that during his time at UConn he had been filling out fraudulent prescriptions since at least 2007, according to the affidavit issued by Rockville Superior Court.
In August 2015, the university’s Office of Audit, Compliance and Ethics (OACE) notified UConn police about the different ways that Olzinski had defrauded the university.
“These findings included ordering personal care items and over the counter products from AmerisourceBergen for personal use and not paying for the items, filing altered logs from the point of sale system to omit cash transactions resulting in a significant cash shortages, and fraudulently filling prescriptions for family and friends as well as filling prescriptions in the name of UConn students that appeared to be for personal use,” the affidavit said.
54 email strings were found on Olzinski’s UConn email account related to controlled substances. In the emails, the controlled substances were referred to as “blueberries,” “Star Spangled Banners” (SSBs), “dixies” and “fruit,” according to the affidavit.
During the audit, the OACE discovered that there were “irregularities” in the history of purchased items from Amerisource that Olzinski had provided.
“The time period initially requested was July 1, 2015. After noticing irregularities, OACE requested the same file directly from Amerisource and compared it to the document provided by Olzinski,” the affidavit said. “It was discovered that 63 purchases had been omitted from the document Olzinski provided.”
Not only were there irregularities in purchase history, but between 2012 and 2015 Olzinski had filled 155 prescriptions and had them billed to different patients’ insurance, according to the affidavit.
“The university’s audit determined that insurance companies were billed for about $34,000 for 232 prescriptions that could not be determined as valid, and refunded those claims,” Reitz said. “The University also suffered a financial loss of about $40,000 as a result of the missing pharmaceuticals, over-the- counter inventory and cash payments.”
Since finding out about the incidents committed by Olzinski while employed by Student Health Services, more has been done to prevent a similar situation from happening again, Reitz said.
“Student Health Services has always been committed to the highest standards, as reinforced by its multi-year the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC) accreditations, and has strengthened internal controls with additional checks and balances for business operations involving prescribing, order management and payment, invoice review and other procedures,” Reitz said.