Compounding Ill-Gotten Gains

Pills spilling out of a prescription bottle on 100 dollar paper currency

Compounded medications are custom mixed for individual patients, and often carry a correspondingly high price tag. That evidently makes them temping fodder for healthcare fraud. Three Oklahoma marketers decided that potential profits merited hefty physician kickbacks in a prescription fraud scheme. (It appears their “marketing” talent centered on bribery.) Daniel Richard Ferguson, John Richard Frohrip, and Kevin Ellis Partin pleaded guilty to offering and paying physician kickbacks in return for referrals to Brookhaven Specialty Pharmacy, LLC, in June 2019.

In their plea, the trio admitted to offering kickbacks and allegedly paying Dr. John Main $15,000 from a Brookhaven Specialty Pharmacy account in return for referrals for compounded prescriptions reimbursable by TRICARE. (As you might guess, the fraudsters then used the reimbursed funds for their own financial gain.) They face up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for violating the federal anti-kickback statute.

Several physicians allegedly involved in this healthcare fraud also face charges. Oklahoma physicians Krisna Balarma Parchuri, Christopher R. Parks, and Gary Robert Lee, along with Texas physician Jerry May Keepers, were charged in January with conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud. Keepers and Parchuri were also charged with soliciting and receiving illegal bribes and kickbacks. Parchuri was further charged with obstructing the criminal investigation of the fraud. (Hmmm, was “I will abstain from all intentional wrong-doing and harm,” removed from the Hippocratic oath recently?)

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from a news release from the United States Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Oklahoma, “Three Marketers Plead Guilty to Violations of Federal Anti-Kickback Statutes,” published Jun. 26, 2019.

Three marketers have pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to offering or paying illegal kickbacks to physicians in relation to the government health care insurance programs Medicare, TRICARE, and the FECA Program, announced U.S. Attorney Trent Shores.

Daniel Richard Ferguson, 47, of Broken Arrow; John Richard Frohrip, 52, of Tulsa; and Kevin Ellis Partin, 49, of Bixby, were charged this month in three separate Informations with offering or paying health care kickbacks. The men caused federal health care insurance programs to pay reimbursement costs for expensive compounding drug prescriptions written by recruited doctors in return for kickback payments. The defendants would then use the reimbursed funds for their own financial gain.

Additional information is from a KJRH Channel 2 news article, “Tulsa doctors charged in kickback scheme,” posted Jun. 13, 2019.

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Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.