BANGOR, Maine — The former pharmacist at the defunct mail-order pharmacy run by the Penobscot Indian Nation pleaded not guilty Tuesday in U.S. District Court to charges of receiving more than $100,000 in kickbacks from six online firms that ordered drugs from PIN Rx during 2006.
Reginald S. Gracie Jr., 40, of Bowdoin was indicted last month by a grand jury in Bangor on six counts of conspiracy, 19 counts of corruptly soliciting and receiving kickbacks as an agent of an organization that received federal funds and two counts of filing false federal income tax returns.
The tribe has not been charged.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Margaret Kravchuk on Tuesday released Gracie on personal recognizance bail.
A trial date was set tentatively for Dec. 6, but it most likely would be six months to a year before the case would be ready for trial.
Gracie and his attorney, Thomas Marjerison of Portland, left the Margaret Chase Smith Federal Building without speaking to reporters.
Assistant U.S. Attorney James Chapman also declined to discuss the case. It is the practice of the federal prosecutor’s office not to comment on cases until they have been resolved.
PIN Rx was started in October 2005 with funds from the tribe and assistance from the state as a business endeavor to provide the Penobscots with revenue while meeting the needs of the state’s MaineCare and elderly patients. The company was in operation for just a year.
Gracie was hired as director of operations in the fall of 2005 and became head pharmacist in April 2006, according to a press release issued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The next month he allegedly conspired with, solicited and received kickbacks from people associated with six Internet companies that sold prescription drugs.
In total, Gracie received about $120,717 in kickbacks between May and November 2006, the indictment alleged. He also allegedly did not declare that income on his taxes.
Gracie was indicted less than three months before the five-year statute of limitations expired on the conspiracy and kickback charges. The statute of limitations on tax crimes is six years after the tax forms are filed.
Gracie’s pharmacy license was revoked by the state Board of Pharmacy in May 2007. In addition, he was ordered to pay a $120,000 fine for his role in the scheme.
If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison on the kickback charges, up to five years in prison on the conspiracy charges and up to three years in prison on the tax charges. He also faces a fine of up to $250,000.