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Trio Of Local Health Professionals Sentenced On Federal Charges For Defrauding TRICARE

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Three local health professionals were sentenced last week on Federal charges that they participated in a kickback scheme to obtain pain cream prescriptions from TRICARE beneficiaries.

Prosecutors said the trio entered into an exclusive agreement among themselves to split the profits derived from sales of certain pain cream to TRICARE beneficiaries. One defendant, a doctor, agreed to write scrips for the cream that was compounded by a marketing company owned by a second defendant and sold by a pharmacy owned by the third defendant.

Investigators say the partnership was quite lucrative, as each cream cost between $900 and $21,000 per month. Over the course of the seven months the arrangement was in effect, the trio arranged to have TRICARE and other insurers reimburse them over $12.4 million, leaving the three men with over $10 million to split among themselves.

Per prosecutors, the doctor and the pharmacy ultimately left the agreement. However, the marketing firm continued on with the scrips already written, filling them at a new pharmacy that was allegedly unaware of the provenance of those new prescriptions. In the course of the marketing firm's involvement, the arrangement led to over $50 million in fraudulent billing to TRICARE.

Last week the final of the three defendants received his sentence, as a Federal judge sentenced the doctor to one year and one day in prison on his guilty plea of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and receive kickbacks, and receiving healthcare kickbacks. Last month the pharmacist defendant and co-owner of the pharmacy was sentenced to five years of probation, while in October the other pharmacist co-owner was sentenced to a year and a day in Federal prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud.

The Law Offices of Bjorn Brunvand have been representing people charged with capital murder, felony drug charges, drunk driving, government fraud, and white-collar crimes for over a quarter century. Contact our office today to discuss your Tampa Bay-area state or federal charges.

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