Husband And Wife Sentenced To Prison In Compounding Healthcare Fraud Scheme
Tampa, Florida – U.S. District Judge Mary S. Scriven has sentenced Edward Leonard Wells, Jr. (34, North Carolina) to two years and eight months in federal prison for conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and aggravated identity theft. On April 18, 2019, Wells’s estranged wife, Alcira Mercedes Wells (34, Connecticut), was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud. The court also entered a money judgment of $32,747.93, the proceeds of the healthcare fraud conspiracy. Alcira Wells and Edward Wells had pleaded guilty in January 2019.
According to court documents, starting in September 2014 and continuing through February 2015, Alcira Mercedes Wells was a marketing representative for Centurion Compounding, Inc. As such, she earned and was promised commissions for each paid claim resulting from compounded creams marketed by Centurion and prescribed to a health care plan beneficiary recruited by Alcira Wells or other marketing representatives working for her.
Centurion was a marketing firm located in Pasco County that employed representatives to market compounded medications, specifically creams for pain and scars, among others, to beneficiaries of health care benefit programs, particularly TRICARE. These creams ranged in price from approximately $900 to $21,000 for a one-month supply. Centurion paid its marketing representatives a percentage of each paid claim, which ranged from 15-30% of the total claim amount.
Edward Leonard Wells, Jr. was married to Alcira Wells and worked as a Staff Sergeant in the United States Army stationed at Ft. Bragg in North Carolina.
Alcira and Edward Wells conspired to photocopy or otherwise duplicate a doctor’s signature, name, address, NPI number, and DEA number from an authorized prescription for these compounded creams onto scores of forged prescription forms in order to make claims for Centurion marketed creams for TRICARE beneficiaries whom the doctor never saw. This includes claims for prescription compounded creams for the Wells’s own family members, such as their three minor children. Alcira and Edward Wells then submitted and caused to be submitted dozens of fake and fraudulent prescriptions for Centurion-marketed compounded medications for U.S. Army personnel stationed at Ft. Bragg. The purported prescriber of these prescriptions never wrote, authorized, or knew about them.
Edward Wells recruited personnel stationed with him at Ft. Bragg, most of whom were subordinate in rank to him, and paid and offered to pay these TRICARE beneficiaries to obtain the compounded creams.
Alcira and Edward Wells caused TRICARE to be billed at least $1.24 million and TRICARE paid more than $1 million as a result of false and fraudulent claims submitted and caused to be submitted by them during the conspiracy.
This case was investigated by the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services - Office of Inspector General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mandy Riedel.