Tax Evasion Charge Added in Case of Southern California Man Accused of Health Care Fraud
PORTLAND, Ore.—U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams announced today that Matthew Hogan Peters, 36, of Dana Point, California, has been charged by superseding information with healthcare fraud and tax evasion.
Peters, who owned and operated local compounding pharmacies, was previously indicted by a federal grand jury on December 19, 2019, on charges that he submitted dozens of fraudulent patient attestations in support of reimbursement claims to CVS Caremark, a national pharmacy benefit manager.
“Seeking to defraud pharmaceutical insurance providers is a crime that impacts all Americans in the form of increased health care costs. Mr. Peters added to Americans’ shared losses resulting from his crimes by further depriving the U.S. of millions in personal income taxes owed,” said U.S. Attorney Williams. “These charges demonstrate our commitment to stopping health care fraud in any form and preventing anyone from cheating the IRS.”
“When people infect our health care system with fraudulent schemes as Peters has done, everyone pays. The greed and the self-dealing of scams like this one impact not only the insurance companies and federal health programs like Medicare and Medicaid, but all Americans who depend on affordable health care options to take care of their families,” said Renn Cannon, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon.
“Mr. Peters made calculated decisions to divert health care fraud proceeds with the intent of evading his more than $5 million dollar tax liability. His actions hurt all Americans who pay their fair share of taxes,” said IRS-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Justin Campbell.
The new charges, filed today, accuse Peters of willfully evading the payment of approximately $5.49 million in federal income taxes from 2014 through 2017. Peters is accused of diverting millions of dollars in corporate revenue for various personal uses, including funding real estate projects in Belize and purchasing homes in Incline Village, Nevada, and San Carlos and Laguna Beach, California.
Peters owned and operated Professional Center 205 Pharmacy and Portland Professional Pharmacy, compounding pharmacies located in Southeast Portland. The pharmacies filled prescriptions for, among other things, compounded pain creams, a lucrative line of products. Private and federal healthcare insurance programs reimburse compounding pharmacies for such creams at rates far higher than comparable over-the-counter or bulk-manufactured medications.
CVS Caremark administered prescription drug benefits for many patients the pharmacies served. From April 1, 2014, through May 15, 2015, Peters sought reimbursements of more than $3.4 million from CVS Caremark, which in turn paid him nearly $1.69 million. In mid-2015, CVS Caremark audited Professional Center Pharmacy’s claims for reimbursement and identified approximately 185 claims that lacked records proving customers’ receipt of medications.
Facing possible suspension from CVS Caremark’s network, Peters submitted documentation to explain the discrepancies identified in the audit. This documentation included 41 written attestations, each purporting to bear the electronic signature of an individual patient, confirming that the patient received the prescription in question. Peters is alleged to have created each of their electronic signatures himself.
Peters will remain on pre-trial release pending a four-day jury trial scheduled to begin on September 8, 2020.
This case was investigated by the FBI, IRS Criminal Investigation, the Offices of Inspectors General for the United States Postal Service and the Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services, the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service. It is being prosecuted by Ryan W. Bounds and Seth D. Uram, Assistant U.S. Attorneys, and Elizabeth Ballard Colgrove, Special Assistant U.S. Attorney, for the District of Oregon.
A criminal information is only an accusation of a crime, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
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