Eighth Defendant Pleads Guilty in Tricare Scheme
Two Defendants Await Trial; Over $3.2 Million in Illicit Proceeds Forfeited
LITTLE ROCK—An eighth defendant has pleaded guilty in connection with a $12 million scheme to generate prescriptions for expensive compounded drugs paid for by TRICARE. Blake Yoder, 39, of Scott, entered his guilty plea Wednesday afternoon before United States District Judge Kristine G. Baker.
Yoder joins seven others who have pleaded guilty: Albert Glenn Hudson, 40, of Sherwood; Derek Clifton, 39, of Alexander; Donna Crowder, 66, of North Little Rock; Jennifer Crowder (formerly Bracy), 38, of Little Rock; Keith Benson, 50, of North Little Rock; Keith Hunter, 52, of Little Rock; and Angie Johnson, 49, of North Little Rock. Remaining defendants Joe David May a.k.a. Jay May, 40, of Alexander, and Kenneth Myers, Jr., 42, now of Alpharetta, Georgia, await trial on December 6, 2021, also before Judge Baker.
Charges were first filed in January 2020. A superseding indictment followed in September 2020. Hudson admitted paying Benson, Hunter, Johnson, Myers, and Yoder to recruit TRICARE beneficiaries to receive expensive compounded drugs and then paying Bracy and Clifton to get Crowder and May to rubber stamp medically unnecessary prescriptions. Hudson, Bracy, and Crowder admitted Crowder’s signature was secured by payments to her daughter (Bracy). Additionally, Clifton admitted giving cash to May in exchange for his signature, a fact also known to Hudson. After federal agents began investigating, Hudson and Clifton acknowledged helping Crowder and May fabricate medical records to make it seem as if patients were examined before receiving prescriptions.
May and Myers are charged with conspiracy, wire fraud, mail fraud, violating the anti-kickback statute, and lying to the FBI. May faces additional charges for falsifying records and aggravated identity theft, while Myers faces additional charges for witness tampering and obstruction of justice. An indictment contains only allegations; May and Myers are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
All eight co-conspirators pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate the Anti-Kickback Statute, which is punishable by up to five years in federal prison, three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine. Together they agreed to forfeit over $3.2 million in illicit proceeds. Sentencing will follow at a later date.
Jonathan D. Ross, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, Diane Upchurch, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Little Rock Field Office, and Miranda Bennett, Special Agent in Charge of the Dallas Regional Office of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced the guilty plea.
The investigation was conducted by the FBI and HHS-OIG. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Alexander D. Morgan.
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