Nine Texans have been sentenced to anywhere from 18 months to 20 years for their parts in a $126 million compounding fraud scheme. The group sentenced in this healthcare fraud scheme includes three compounding pharmacy owners, a physician, two pharmacists, and three patient recruiters sentenced in this compounding pharmacy scheme.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the nine took part in a years-long multistate scheme to defraud the Department of Labor’s Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs and TRICARE, the healthcare program for U.S. service members and their families.
It was alleged that the defendants in compounding pharmacy fraud scheme submitted false and fraudulent claims or prescriptions for compounded and other drugs prescribed to injured federal workers and members of the armed forces. The defendants also paid kickbacks to patient recruiters and physicians to prescribe these drugs. The compounds and other drugs were not based on the patient’s medical needs, but on the amount of reimbursement. The drugs were then mailed to patients, even though the patients often never requested, wanted, or needed them.
Those sentenced were:
- John Cruise, former co-owner of Assurance Consolidated Pharmacy (ACP), a pharmacy located in Spring, Texas, as well as an owner of the Injured Federal Workers Advocate Association (IFWAA), an organization that purported to assist injured federal workers, was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
- LaShonia Johnson, a former co-owner of ACP with her husband and co-defendant Cruise, and director at IFWAA, was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
- Kenny Ozoude, former owner of Compounding Solutions LLC, a Houston-based pharmacy, was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
- Dr. James Don Jackson was sentenced to five years in prison.
- Nirvana Hightower, pharmacist and pharmacist-in-charge at Compounding Solutions LLC, was sentenced to five years in prison.
- Keith Hudson, a pharmacist and pharmacist-in-charge at ACP, was sentenced to 3 years in prison.
- Audra Jones was sentenced to two years and six months in prison.
- Terrance Aice, a patient recruiter, was sentenced to one year and six months in prison.
- Sherod Johnson, a patient recruiter, was sentenced to one year and six months in prison.
Dr. Jay Bender, and Dr. Deepak Chavda, both orthopedic surgeons, along with Donathan Kemp, and Naresh Jivanji, are scheduled to be sentenced next month.
As far back as 2015, The Health Law Offices of Anthony C. Vitale, who specialize in healthcare law, have been writing about the feds cracking down on compounding pharmacy fraud.
Other stories we have published focusing on the compound fraud crackdown include:
- TRICARE Billing Scandal Intensifies as Feds Target More Compounding Pharmacies
- Feds Step-up Crackdown on Fraudulent Billing for Compounded Meds
- October a Big Month for Anti-Kickback Cases Involving Compounding Pharmacies
- Florida Men Charged in $54M Pharmacy Fraud Case
- Surgeon Sentenced in Compound Medication Kickback Scheme
- Compounding Pharmacies to Pay $6.8M in Prescriptions-for-Money Scam
Healthcare fraud investigations involve complex healthcare and pharmacy matters requiring legal counsel with knowledge and experience in TRICARE and healthcare law. Those involved in the industry would be well advised to educate themselves about best practices.
The Health Law Offices of Anthony C. Vitale is well-versed in all areas of healthcare law and can assist you. For more information call us at 305-358-4500 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.