Two Mississippi men from Ocean Springs have admitted to accepting kickbacks in a $18 million healthcare fraud scheme. Dempsey Bryan Levi and Jeffrey Wayne Rollins pleaded guilty to one count each of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud involving prescription compound pain creams.
Their scheme defrauded military insurer TRICARE, Medicare, and private insurers out of $18 million. (This wasn’t a petty crime for small cash, rather an organized scheme meant to defraud insurers out of millions.) Rollins, Levi, and his recently deceased brother partook in the compound prescription fraud scheme.
The trio accepted kickbacks and paid bribes in exchange for promoting compound medications to patients despite being medically unnecessary. Compound medications need to be specially mixed by a pharmacist and are usually intended for those who are allergic to an ingredient in the generic version of a pain cream.
Compounded medications are often seen as a last resort by a prescriber as they are more complex to prepare and extremely expensive. One compound pain cream can range in cost from $1,000 to $7,000 depending on the ingredients. (These prescriptions better be able to cure cancer for those prices.)
Levi and Rollins encouraged individuals to request these expensive medications. They targeted individuals who were beneficiaries of TRICARE, Medicare, or other private insurers who would cover the cost of the medications. (They wanted to get the most amount of money from each beneficiary.)
Most of the recipients of the pain creams had never consulted with a doctor before receiving the pain cream. The prescriptions were written with the sole intention of billing insurers for the most money possible, not to treat or manage pain conditions. (At the end of the day, the only person a fraudster will look out for is themselves.)
A number of businesses played a part in the illegal healthcare fraud scheme. One of them was Garden’s Pharmacy, which was created by Levi’s deceased brother. Another, Alvix Laboratories, was owned by Levi and other co-conspirators and used to market and distribute the expensive compound creams.
Both Levi and Rollins are now facing up to 10 years in prison and could each be fined up to $250,000. (Not to mention they’re also facing financial ruin.) Each of the men agreed to forfeit the following to the government: $895,730 from a Merchants & Marine account in the name of Alvix Laboratories and $28,383 from a Merchants & Marine account in the name of Garden’s Pharmacy.
Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from an article, “Ocean Springs pharmacy owners plead guilty in multi-million dollar TRICARE fraud scheme,” published by Biloxi SunHerald on October 14, 2020.
Two Ocean Springs men are facing up to 10 years in prison and $250,000 fines after admitting Wednesday they accepted kickbacks in an $18 million healthcare fraud scheme involving prescription compound pain creams.
Dempsey Bryan Levi and Jeffrey Wayne Rollins pleaded guilty to one count each of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud before Judge Keith Starrett at the William M. Colmer federal courthouse in Hattiesburg.