Crime

Nurse admits receiving $50K in kickbacks from the fraud conspiracy that netted Albert Diaz

Nurse practitioner Susan Perry, seen here in the dark suit walking into court, is accused in compound pharmacy fraud. She pleaded guilty on Friday.
Nurse practitioner Susan Perry, seen here in the dark suit walking into court, is accused in compound pharmacy fraud. She pleaded guilty on Friday. Hattiesburg American

A nurse practitioner has pleaded guilty in the same health care fraud conspiracy that snared longtime Biloxi doctor Albert Diaz Jr.

Susan K. Perry, 58, who had a family clinic in Biloxi, pleaded guilty Friday to one charge of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office says.

Perry admitted that she prescribed medically unnecessary compounded drugs, sometimes without examining the "patients," in a scheme designed to secure maximum reimbursements from TRICARE, the military insurance program.

The Grand Bay, Ala., resident received more than $50,000 in kickbacks as part of the conspiracy, according to a story in the Hattiesburg American. The newspaper also reported that she tried to recruit two employees at her clinic, Immediate Family Clinic in Biloxi, to find patients for the prescriptions.

Perry is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 20 by U.S. District Judge Keith Starrett. The judge recently sentenced Diaz, 78, to three years and six months in prison, a dramatic downward departure from sentencing guidelines. Diaz, the only defendant who has opted for a jury trial, was convicted on 16 charges.

Federal investigators were unable to show that Diaz earned a dime from the scheme. He was recruited for the conspiracy by pharmaceutical salesman Jay Schaar, who already has pleaded guilty in the case, as has Advantage Pharmacy co-owner Jason May.

The fraudulent prescriptions were filled at Advantage. The U.S. Attorney's Office says Advantage received $1,375,692 in reimbursement from TRICARE and other insurance companies for the fraudulent prescriptions that Perry wrote from January 2014 to April 2015.

Perry was charged with a total of 13 crimes. The other charges were dropped in exchange for her plea.

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