St. Augustine Man Pleads Guilty To Accepting Illegal Kickbacks In Exchange For Nearly $180,000
Jacksonville, FL – Acting United States Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow announces that Vernon Stroman (40, St. Augustine) has pleaded guilty to violating the anti-kickback statute. He faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison.
According to the plea agreement, Stroman was a marketer and consultant for Wellness Pharmacy in St. Augustine. In this role, he was responsible for finding patients that had TRICARE insurance and could be referred to the pharmacy. Beginning on January 27, 2015, Stroman referred his parents to the pharmacy and provided them with prescriptions for several creams – including a “scar/post-op” cream and a “general pain/inflammation” cream. Neither of his parents had received a physician order attesting to the medical necessity of the cream. By submitting the prescriptions to Wellness Pharmacy, Stroman knew that the pharmacy intended to fill the prescriptions and submit claims for reimbursement.
Approximately one week after Stroman submitted the prescriptions to the pharmacy, he picked up the creams and purportedly paid the $102.00 in copayments. Stroman later admitted that he never paid these copayments; instead, he received $3,000.00 for “consulting services.” In total, from February to May 2015, Stroman received $50,461.75.
As a result of Stroman’s actions, Wellness Pharmacy submitted 18 claims for reimbursement for his parents. TRICARE paid Wellness Pharmacy a total of $178,193.40 for these prescriptions.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jason Mehta.