Mississippi Nurse Practitioner and Clinic Owner Sentenced to Prison for Role in Compounding Pharmacy Scheme to Defraud Tricare
A Mississippi-based nurse practitioner and former owner of a family health clinic was sentenced to 42 months in prison today for her role in a scheme to defraud health care benefit programs including TRICARE, the health care benefit program serving U.S. military, veterans and their respective family members.
Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney D. Michael Hurst Jr. of the Southern District of Mississippi; Special Agent in Charge Christopher Freeze of the FBI’s Jackson, Mississippi Field Division; Acting Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Holloman III of IRS Criminal Investigation’s (IRS-CI) New Orleans Field Office and Special Agent in Charge John F. Khin of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service’s (DCIS) Southeast Field Office made the announcement.
Susan K. Perry, 58, of Grand Bay, Alabama, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Keith Starrett of the Southern District of Mississippi, who also ordered Perry to serve three years of supervised release following her prison sentence and pay $1,375,692 in restitution. Perry pleaded guilty on June 15 to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. She was charged in October 2017 in a 13-count indictment.
As part of her plea, Perry admitted her role in a scheme to defraud health care benefit programs by prescribing medically unnecessary compounded medications to individuals who did not need the medications, sometimes without first examining those individuals. Perry admitted that she knew that Advantage Pharmacy, based in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, would submit claims for reimbursement to health care benefit programs, including TRICARE, for compounded medications based on the prescriptions she signed, and she further expected that the health care benefit programs would pay the claims. From approximately January 2014 through April 2015, health care benefit programs, including TRICARE, reimbursed Advantage Pharmacy approximately $1,375,692 based on the claims submitted by Advantage Pharmacy in connection with the compounded medications that Perry prescribed.
The FBI, IRS-CI, DCIS, the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics and other government agencies investigated the case. Trial Attorneys Kate Payerle and Jared Hasten of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Helen Wall of the Southern District of Mississippi are prosecuting the case.