Trio of Trouble

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Stethoscope on 100 dollar bills symbolizing financial surveillance

A trio of Oklahomans, who conspired to carry out a scheme that defrauded Medicare and Oklahoma Medicaid out of tens of thousands of dollars have received their punishment. Dr. James Ferris, 47, Katherine Dossey, 61, and Sherry Isbell, 50, of Oklahoma City have all been sentenced for unlawful distribution of controlled substances and corresponding health care fraud.

At the time of the fraud, Isbell was the owner of Physicians at Home and the Mid-Oklahoma Medical Access Clinic in Wellston. Ferris was a physician employed by Isbell’s company and Dossey was a licensed pharmacist who owned a pharmacy located in the same building as the Mid-Oklahoma Medical Access Clinic. (It was only a matter of time before their paths crossed and they started scheming.)

Together, Isbell, Dossey and Ferris conspired to illegally distribute prescription-controlled substances over approximately four months. These substances included hydrocodone, morphine, and fentanyl among other opioids. (They ignored the ongoing opioid crisis, and their responsibilities as healthcare professionals, all to make a few extra bucks.)

Isbell, Dossey and Ferris used their positions to further the illegal healthcare scheme. Ferris provided Dossey with stacks of blank prescription pads that were pre-signed and Isbell provided Dossey with access to patient records. The pre-signed prescription pads and patient records made it easy for Dossey to prepare invalid prescription refills for opioids. Dossey filed fraudulent reimbursement claims with Medicare and Oklahoma Medicaid for the illegally filled prescriptions. (Imagine if they had only put this much thought and effort into their day jobs.)   

In June 2018, a federal grand jury returned a 103-count indictment charging Ferris, Dossey and Isbell with crimes related to the distribution of controlled prescription drugs using invalid medical prescriptions and the fraudulent billings of Medicare for those prescriptions. Dossey and Isbell both pleaded guilty to one count of healthcare fraud in 2019. They were sentenced to 54 months and 24 months of probation, respectively. Dossey also agreed to surrender her Oklahoma pharmacy license and never reapply for a new license. (As she should.) 

Ferris pleaded guilty to one count of distribution of fentanyl without a valid prescription and one count of healthcare fraud in January 2021. He was sentenced to 42 months of probation. Ferris also agreed to surrender his license to practice medicine in Oklahoma and not apply for a medical license in Oklahoma for a period of three years from the date of surrender. (I bet he will be watched very closely from now on.)

Dossey, Isbell, and Ferris were all ordered to pay restitution to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in the amount of $53,468.74. They must also pay restitution to the Oklahoma Medicaid Fraud Control Unit in the amount of $20,301.51. (I’m sure this trio of trouble is contemplating whether ruining their careers and their reputation was really worth it.)

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from a Department of Justice press release, “Oklahoma Medical Professionals Sentenced for Unlawful Distribution of Controlled Substances and Medicare Health Care Fraud,” dated February 4, 2021.

OKLAHOMA CITY – Over the past week, DR. JAMES FERRIS, 47, of Midwest City, KATHERINE DOSSEY, 61, of Luther, and SHERRY ISBELL, 50, of Chandler, were sentenced for their respective roles in the unlawful distribution of controlled substances and corresponding health care fraud, announced U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Downing.

On June 20, 2018, a federal grand jury returned a 103-count Indictment charging Ferris, Dossey and Isbell with crimes related to the distribution of controlled prescription drugs using invalid medical prescriptions and the subsequent fraudulent billings of Medicare for those prescriptions.  According to the Indictment, Isbell was the owner of Physicians at Home and the Mid-Oklahoma Medical Access Clinic, both located in Wellston, Oklahoma.  Ferris was a physician employed by Physicians at Home.  Dossey was a licensed pharmacist who owned a retail pharmacy located in the same building as the clinic.

 

 

 

 

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Larry Benson, Senior Director of Strategic Alliances, LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Larry Benson is responsible for developing strategic partnerships and solutions for the government vertical. His expertise focuses on how government programs are defrauded by criminal groups, and the approaches necessary to prevent them from succeeding.

Mr. Benson has 30 years of experience in sales and business development. Before joining LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, he spent 12 years founding and managing two software technology startups. During the 1990s he spent 10 years as a Regional Director helping to grow a New England-based technology company from 300 employees to 7,000. He started his career with Martin Marietta Aerospace working on laser guided weapons and day/night vision systems.

A sought-after speaker and accomplished writer, Mr. Benson is the principal author of “Fraud of the Day,” a website dedicated to educating government officials about how criminals are defrauding government programs. He has co-authored WTF? Where’s the Fraud? How to Unmask and Stop Identity Fraud’s Drain on Our Government, and Data Personified, How Fraud is Changing the Meaning of Identity.

Benson holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Albright College, and earned two graduate degrees – a Master of Business Administration from Florida Institute of Technology, and a Master of Science in Engineering from Lehigh University.