kC man sentenced for leading $1 million drug-trafficking conspiracy
partnered with Independence physician to illegally distribute oxycontin, defraud health care programs
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Kansas City, Mo., man was sentenced in federal court today for leading a conspiracy to illegally distribute more than $1 million worth of OxyContin and oxycodone that were obtained, in part, by defrauding Medicare and other health care programs.
“This drug-trafficking conspiracy was subsidized by a scheme to defraud Medicare and other health care programs to obtain thousands of pills,” Phillips said. “Drug dealers stole tens of thousands of dollars from the government by taking advantage of health care benefits when they used illegal prescriptions that were supplied by a physician who was part of the conspiracy. Illegal prescription drugs pose a significant danger to our community, and those who distribute them will be held accountable.”
Kevin Martin Cummings, 50, of Kansas City, was sentenced by U.S. Chief District Judge Fernando J. Gaitan to nine years and 10 months in federal prison without parole. Cummings has forfeited $169,490 to the government as part of the court-ordered forfeiture that includes seven residential properties and a $1,385,890 money judgment. Cummings will continue to liquidate assets while in custody – including residential property – to satisfy the judgment.
Harry S. Sommers, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA St. Louis Division stated, “This investigation and ultimately the sentence of the court reflects the commitment of the DEA and our law enforcement partners to detect and stop the diversion of legal narcotics by unprincipled physicians and their cohorts who act outside the law and the usual course of medical practice by simply trafficking in narcotics and profiting from same under the guise of their professional degrees.”
Les W. Hollie, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, Office of Investigations, stated, “Today’s sentencing sends a message to those who take advantage of the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Our Kansas City HHS/OIG office along with our law enforcement partners will continue to work aggressively to hold accountable those who commit health care fraud.”
Cummings pleaded guilty on Oct. 15, 2010, to being the leader of a conspiracy to distribute tens of thousands of OxyContin and oxycodone pills and to a money-laundering conspiracy. Cummings also pleaded guilty to health care fraud and theft of government money based on Social Security fraud.
Cummings is among seven defendants who have pleaded guilty to their roles in the drug-trafficking conspiracy. Nine defendants have been charged, in separate but related cases.
Drug Trafficking Conspiracy
Cummings participated in the drug-trafficking conspiracy with Bruce Layne Baker, 54, of Independence, Mo., Jonna Womboldt, 39, of Kansas City, Mo., and others to distribute OxyContin and oxycodone from July 2006 to January 2010.
Baker, an osteopathic physician, pleaded guilty on Jan. 27, 2011, to his role in the conspiracy to distribute OxyContin and oxycodone. Baker also pleaded guilty to health care fraud. Womboldt also pleaded guilty to participating in the drug trafficking and money laundering conspiracies and to health care fraud.
Cummings met Baker in June 2006. Although Cummings had no medical training, he bought into Baker’s business, Mobile Physicians and Medical Services, LLC, which made house calls to hotels and businesses. Baker has admitted that he provided prescriptions for strippers, bartenders, and bouncers without a medical examination or demonstration of a medical need.
From July 2006 through January 2010, Baker issued prescriptions to Cummings for OxyContin and oxycodone that were not intended for a medical purpose. Baker also issued Cummings prescriptions for OxyContin and oxycodone in the names of other individuals without examining or treating the individuals, and also to individuals without them knowing the prescriptions were issued in their names. Cummings filled these prescriptions, or arranged for them to be filled, and then illegally distributed the OxyContin and oxycodone.
Cummings also introduced Baker to other co-conspirators so that they could obtain prescriptions for OxyContin and oxycodone from Baker. These co-conspirators filled the prescriptions and gave some or all of the pills to Cummings, who illegally distributed them.
Womboldt, who met Cummings and Baker in late 2006 or early 2007, began dating Cummings and became involved in Cummings’ narcotics trafficking business shortly thereafter. She would deliver drugs and pick up money for Cummings.
As compensation for writing the prescriptions, Baker received pills from Cummings or Womboldt and was often paid $100 per prescription.
Over the course of the conspiracy, Cummings caused OxyContin and oxycodone prescriptions for a total of 42,726 pills to be issued for individuals with no legitimate medical need, filled at pharmacies, and paid by health care benefit programs.
Money Laundering Conspiracy
Cummings maintained bank accounts in the names of his mudjacking business at several banks. Cummings commingled funds from the unlawful distribution of OxyContin and oxycodone with funds derived from his mudjacking business, and other business ventures, to purchase several parcels of real estate, make loans to individuals, and cash checks in order to conceal the source of those funds and to carry out the drug-trafficking conspiracy. More than $309,000 from the drug-trafficking proceeds was laundered through various banks accounts by Cummings.
Cummings also used the proceeds from illegal drug trafficking to purchase, make mortgage payments or finance improvements for several residential properties.
Health Care Fraud
Cummings defrauded federal health care benefit programs by causing claims for illegal prescriptions issued in his name to be submitted to and paid by federal health care benefit programs. Cummings was a Medicare beneficiary and used his Medicare Part D benefits to fill prescriptions in his own name. Medicare paid $57,437 on 97 claims that Cummings filed for illegal prescriptions. Cummings was also a Medicaid beneficiary and caused Medicaid (Missouri HealthNet) to pay $8,367 on 62 claims for illegal prescriptions in his own name. Cummings was also a United Healthcare beneficiary and used his United Healthcare benefits to fill prescriptions in his own name. United Healthcare paid $4,776 on three claims for illegal prescriptions.
In addition to claims filed in his own name, Cummings also caused dozens of claims to be filed under the names of co-conspirators and others. Cummings also obtained $18,642 in other Medicare benefits to which he was not entitled.
Theft of Government Money Based on Social Security Fraud
Cummings received Social Security benefits for alleged back pain, although he owned and operated several mudjacking businesses. Cummings not only received income from these businesses, but also from his illegal drug-trafficking operation. Cummings received a total of $67,801 in benefits to which he was not entitled.
These cases are being prosecuted by Senior Litigation Counsel Gregg R. Coonrod and Assistant U.S. Attorney Cindi Woolery. They were investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Health and Human Services - Office of Inspector General, the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department, and the Social Security Administration – Office of Inspector General.