Preliminary Injunction Entered in Justice Department Suit to Stop Fraudulent Debt Collection Scheme that Harmed Veterans
TULSA, Okla. - A former Jenks resident has been sentenced to 18 months for conspiracy to offer and pay health care kickbacks, announced U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson.
U.S. District Judge George K. Frizzell sentenced Christopher Parks, 62, to 18 months in federal prison, followed by two years of supervised release. Judge Frizzell further ordered Parks to pay $6,400,651.57 in restitution.
“Christopher Parks violated the trust of patients and abused Federal Health Care programs and private insurance companies to cheat taxpayers and pad his pockets,” said U.S Attorney Clint Johnson. “This office, together with our law enforcement partners, will continue to prosecute insurance and medical fraud.”
“This individual and his numerous co-conspirators used their medical credentials to exploit patient trust for financial gain,” said Jason E. Meadows, Special Agent in Charge of the United States Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG). “Illegal kickback payments cloud medical judgment and cost taxpayers millions of dollars. HHS-OIG will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to hold accountable those who blatantly steal taxpayer money for their benefit.”
“The defendant exploited the health care industry by conspiring with others to pay and receive illegal kickbacks in order to enrich himself,” said FBI Oklahoma City Special Agent in Charge Edward J. Gray. “This is not a victimless crime—health care fraud is a crime against all of us who contribute hard earned income and taxes into the system. The FBI will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to ensure those who willingly defraud the American people are held accountable.”
On June 27, 2023, Parks admitted in his plea agreement that he was one of the owners and/or operators of OK Compounding, LLC, and One Stop RX, LLC. Parks stated that between Nov. 2012 and June 2019 he paid physicians remuneration or kickbacks to induce referrals of their patients’ compounding prescriptions to one of the two pharmacies. Parks would pay the physicians through bank accounts he controlled knowing that some of the prescriptions were being paid for by government healthcare programs including Tricare, Medicare, the Federal Employees Compensation Act program, and the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Compounding prescriptions is a practice in which a pharmacist or physician combines, mixes, or alters ingredients of a drug or multiple drugs to create a medication that is tailored to the specific needs of a patient. These medications are prescribed when standard Food and Drug Administration-approved drugs are unsuitable for the patient. Compounded medications are also more expensive and reimbursed at a far higher rate by federal and private insurance companies than other forms of the same medication. Compounded drugs are not to be mixed or marketed in bulk.
The physicians were provided pre-printed prescription pads that listed compounding formula choices. Participating physicians checked a box with their preferred selection and then faxed it directly to the associated pharmacies, rather than writing a prescription tailored to the patient who could then take it to a pharmacy of their choice.
Parks disguised payments to physicians through various sham business arrangements. For example, physicians would enter into agreements with a pharmacy to serve as “medical directors.” However, the physicians provided no actual services as medical directors. Instead, physicians were paid kickbacks for writing prescriptions for medications whether their patients needed them or not and sending the prescriptions to Parks-affiliated pharmacies.
The Health & Human Services-Office of Inspector General, Defense Criminal Investigative Service and FBI investigated the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Melody Nelson prosecuted the case.