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4 charged with defrauding insurers of more than $200M

Four Mississippi residents are accused of defrauding insurers of more than $200 million, the latest indictments in a still-unfolding investigation into pharmacies that prosecutors say bribed health care providers to prescribe handcrafted high-dollar medications that were in many cases unnecessary.

Posted: Jun 26, 2018 10:14 AM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Four Mississippi residents are accused of defrauding insurers of more than $200 million, the latest indictments in a still-unfolding investigation into pharmacies that prosecutors say bribed health care providers to prescribe handcrafted high-dollar medications that were in many cases unnecessary.

Indictments against Hope Thomley and Randy Thomley of Hattiesburg, Glenn Beach Jr. of Sumrall, and Gregory Parker of Laurel were unsealed Monday in Hattiesburg. The Thomleys and Beach were associated with Advantage Pharmacy, one of the businesses that authorities place at the center of the scheme. Advantage pharmacist Jason May of Hattiesburg and marketer Jay Schaar of Gulfport pleaded guilty earlier.

As previously alleged, Beach, May and others figured out how to make compounded medications that insurers would pay high prices for, "regardless of the individual medical needs of the beneficiaries or the effectiveness of the high-yield compounded medication," according to the indictment. Some prescriptions were worth more than $10,000 apiece.

Marketers recruited dentists, physicians, nurse practitioners and others to writing bogus prescriptions to patients they never examined, prosecutors allege.

"The defendants and their co-conspirators created pre-printed, check-the-box prescription forms," the indictment states. Prosecutors allege pharmacy owners paid kickbacks of a certain percentage of revenue to prescribers as well as the marketers they signed up. Prosecutors document millions in payments to marketing companies they say made the kickbacks.

Hope and Randy Thomley face 24 and 23 felony counts, respectively, including conspiracy, health care fraud and money laundering. Beach faces 16 counts. Parker, a nurse practitioner accused of prescribing medications to patients without examining them and lying to federal investigators, faces eight counts.

Beach pleaded not guilty Monday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael T. Parker and was released on $25,000 bail. Gregory Parker did not enter a plea and was released on $25,000 bail. The Thomleys are scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday. Hope Thomley and lawyers for Beach didn't immediately respond to emails seeking comment Monday, but they have denied wrongdoing in a civil lawsuit that seeks to seize their assets.

"The government believes Hope Thomley is a bad and greedy person with millions of dollars in dirty money. It could not possibly be more wrong about her," wrote lawyer Paul Calli in February in a parallel civil case. "Hope is a wife, mother, and grandmother. A former health care executive, Hope is a self-made woman who has worked hard and worked honestly for everything that she has."

As part of the prosecution, the government is trying to seize $17 million in cash, six vehicles and 16 pieces of real estate from the Thomleys and Beach. Those assets have been frozen in the civil case for more than two years pending the criminal investigation.

Among the health care professionals already convicted is a 78-year-old Ocean Springs physician sentenced to 3½ years in prison. An Alabama nurse practitioner also has pleaded guilty.

One product Advantage offered was a "dietary supplement" made with over-the-counter ingredients for which insurers paid thousands of dollars per bottle, according to court documents.

"Get me rolling on dietary supplements," the indictment alleges Parker texted to Hope Thomley in 2014. "I need to make some cash, and I think I can burn through a lot of that stuff!"

Another formulation contained ketamine, a controlled substance, it said. The Thomleys face additional charges for dispensing that without a valid reason.

Prosecutors say Advantage also waived copayments under the table, even though it wasn't supposed to, because the conspirators knew patients would refuse expensive medications if they had to pay.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 255125

Reported Deaths: 5574
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17257180
Hinds16331322
Harrison13567194
Rankin10804212
Jackson10453184
Lee8864141
Madison8314164
Jones6434112
Forrest6009120
Lauderdale5902186
Lowndes5405116
Lafayette499193
Lamar488565
Washington4803124
Bolivar3997109
Oktibbeha395381
Panola372379
Pontotoc367853
Monroe3558105
Warren354898
Union345960
Marshall344066
Neshoba3396152
Pearl River3301100
Leflore3041107
Lincoln298085
Sunflower286671
Hancock274459
Tate273162
Alcorn265453
Itawamba263759
Pike263778
Scott248046
Yazoo247056
Prentiss246552
Tippah243050
Copiah242749
Coahoma241054
Simpson236467
Leake231765
Grenada219471
Covington214672
Marion213073
Adams207070
Wayne202932
Winston201666
George199839
Attala194259
Newton193444
Tishomingo189361
Chickasaw185044
Jasper172736
Holmes168767
Clay159833
Stone144721
Tallahatchie141934
Clarke139862
Calhoun136521
Smith121424
Yalobusha117834
Walthall112336
Noxubee110822
Greene110429
Montgomery109834
Carroll104821
Lawrence102917
Perry102631
Amite98426
Webster92824
Tunica87321
Claiborne86625
Jefferson Davis85326
Humphreys83124
Benton82023
Kemper77620
Quitman6968
Franklin66715
Choctaw60913
Wilkinson58725
Jefferson54919
Sharkey43117
Issaquena1596
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 426543

Reported Deaths: 6126
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson62752920
Mobile30551554
Madison27303186
Tuscaloosa20835267
Montgomery19192305
Shelby18693114
Baldwin16513183
Lee12603101
Morgan12321113
Etowah11805168
Calhoun11206200
Marshall10236107
Houston8681148
Cullman8094105
Limestone807474
Elmore7923101
DeKalb771597
Lauderdale763183
St. Clair7599120
Talladega6224108
Walker5930174
Jackson583741
Colbert535473
Blount532083
Autauga522755
Coffee446256
Dale399781
Franklin368148
Chilton337865
Russell335910
Covington330168
Escambia321342
Dallas305196
Chambers288669
Clarke283133
Tallapoosa2630107
Pike251329
Marion247350
Lawrence245247
Winston229035
Bibb217047
Geneva203335
Marengo200829
Pickens196931
Hale177442
Barbour173836
Fayette171226
Butler170758
Cherokee160930
Henry155021
Monroe147317
Randolph141535
Washington138326
Clay127045
Crenshaw120244
Cleburne118423
Lamar118419
Macon116835
Lowndes111535
Wilcox103621
Bullock99728
Perry98219
Conecuh95120
Sumter89526
Greene76223
Coosa60515
Choctaw51524
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