A Biloxi doctor charged in a 16-count indictment is accused of defrauding TRICARE by prescribing medically unnecessary compounds, some of which used ketamine, a drug used to sustain anesthesia and to treat chronic pain.
A federal grand jury handed up the indictment Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Hattiesburg in an investigation led by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force and related to the prosecution of Lamar County pharmacist Jason May and prescription marketer Gerald Jay Schaar of Biloxi.
Dr. Albert Diaz, of Ocean Springs, is an obstetrician and gynecologist who practices on Medical Park Drive in Biloxi.
He is accused of writing prescriptions without examining patients and having the prescriptions filled by a Hattiesburg-based compounding pharmacy, a Justice Department press release said Wednesday.
TRICARE, a health care benefit program for the military, veterans and their family members, reimbursed the pharmacy more than $2.3 million for medications Diaz prescribed, federal agents said.
The indictment also alleges that Diaz submitted false patient records for an audit for TRICARE and indicated he had examined his patients before prescribing them compounded medications.
Compounded drugs are the mixture of two or more drugs by a pharmacist to meet a patient’s specific needs.
The charges carry maximum penalties of 305 years in prison and fines of up to $7.5 million, the Justice Department said.
The indictment is related to the prosecutions of James May, pharmacist in charge of Advantage Pharmacy in Lamar County, and prescription marketer Gerald Jay Schaar of Biloxi.
May and Schaar pleaded guilty to related charges on July 25. Both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud. May also pleaded guilty to a money laundering scheme to defraud insurance programs, including TRICARE, of $190 million, federal agents said.
Their charging document mentioned an unidentified doctor who prescribed compounded medicines, including creams, as part of the scheme. Diaz apparently is the doctor in question.
U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst, FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Freeze and IRS-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Jerome McDuffie are the federal agents who announced the indictment.