Crime

Coast pharmacist, marketer admit defrauding military health care by $2.3 million

Compounded medications are made up of individual ingredients that are mixed together in the exact strength and dosage form, which can be liquid, cream or power, as prescribed by a doctor.
Compounded medications are made up of individual ingredients that are mixed together in the exact strength and dosage form, which can be liquid, cream or power, as prescribed by a doctor.

A Biloxi man and a Lamar County pharmacist have pleaded guilty in what has been called the largest ever national health care fraud enforcement action by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force.

The investigation involves at least one doctor who wrote false prescriptions for compounded medicines, costing the U.S. military healthcare program a loss of $2.3 million, court papers show. Gerald Jay Schaar and Jason May are participants in a new investigation involving a doctor.

Schaar, 46, has admitted he marketed illegal prescriptions that were billed to TRICARE, which provides health care benefits for military personnel, veterans and their dependents. But those prescriptions were not dispensed to patients while Schaar received kickbacks.

May, 40, owner of Advantage Pharmacy, has admitted he filled prescriptions for creams that went to no one while he submitted TRICARE claims.

Schaar and May pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud on July 25. May also pleaded guilty to money laundering.

The charging document says Schaar found doctors willing to prescribe compounded medicines, and that he received kickbacks from the pharmacy. May’s pharmacy filled the prescriptions and billed TRICARE and also kept a portion of reimbursements in a separate account.

An unidentified doctor prescribed the creams as if they were a medical necessity, making false statements, and created patient records to make it appear the patients had been examined, when they had not, the document says.

Compounded medications are made up of individual ingredients that are mixed together in the exact strength and dosage form, which can be liquid, cream or power, as prescribed by a doctor.

May has agreed to forfeit a total of $396,850.87 from two bank accounts, a court document said. All but about $35,500 was in one of the accounts. Schaar also will likely have a forfeiture order.

Both are free on bonds of $25,000 each. They were to be sentenced Oct. 17 in Hattiesburg, but their attorneys asked for a delay because of a related investigation that could affect their sentences. The new date is March 20.

Robin Fitzgerald: 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews

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