A compounding fraud scheme cost taxpayers millions-and could put two pharmacists in prison.
Two pharmacists pleaded guilty in a multimillion dollar compounding pharmacy fraud conspiracy.
Jason May, 40, co-owner and pharmacist at Advantage Pharmacy in Hattiesburg, MS, and Jay Schaar, 46, a marketer for a pharmacy (the name of which was not disclosed) in Lamar County, MS, copped to health-care fraud and money laundering charges, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Mississippi.
Advantage Pharmacy received around $192 million in reimbursements from Tricare and other health-care benefit programs for compounded topical creams, but did not collect patient copayments for the compounded topical creams or paid copayments on behalf of beneficiaries.
“As a co-owner of Advantage Pharmacy, May received a portion of the reimbursements associated with the fraudulently obtained compound creams and transferred certain of those proceeds from the fraud-in transactions greater than $10,000-into a money market account held in his name,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Schaar solicited physicians and other medical professionals to write prescriptions, without seeing patients, for compounded topical creams dispensed by the pharmacy where he was employed.
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“Schaar, together with others, later falsified patient records to make it seem as though medical professionals had examined the patients who received prescriptions for the compound creams. In total, the pharmacy received $2.3 million in reimbursements for the prescriptions solicited by Schaar,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
The charges against May and Schaar are part of the largest ever national health-care fraud enforcement action by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force. The enforcement involves 412 charged defendants in 41 federal districts across the country.
"DCIS and our investigative partners remain committed to bringing to justice any individuals who defraud Tricare, the Department of Defense health-care program dedicated to providing medical care to military members and their families," stated Special Agent in Charge John F. Khin, Southeast Field Office with the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS). "The fraud and corruption uncovered as part of this complex case diverted and wasted precious taxpayer dollars needed for the critical care and well-being of our military members and their families."
May and Schaar will be sentenced in federal court on October 17. May faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, while Schaar could get a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.