Two Plead Guilty in Multi-Million Dollar Compounding Pharmacy Fraud Scheme
Hattiesburg, Miss. – Jason May, 40, of Lamar County, Mississippi, and Gerald Jay Schaar, 46, of Biloxi, Mississippi, entered guilty pleas on July 25, 2017, before U.S. District Judge Keith Starrett, for their roles in a multi-million dollar compounding pharmacy health care fraud conspiracy, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Harold Brittain, FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Freeze, IRS-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Jerome R. McDuffie, and John F. Khin, Special Agent in Charge, Defense Criminal Investigative Service Southeast Field Office.
May pled guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud and money laundering in connection with his role as co-owner and pharmacist in charge of Advantage Pharmacy, which received approximately $192 million in reimbursements from TRICARE and other health care benefit programs for compound topical creams. He selected formulas for the compound creams based on reimbursement rates as opposed to medical efficacy. In order to facilitate the scheme to defraud, May and Advantage Pharmacy either did not collect patient copayments for the compound topical creams or paid copayments on behalf of beneficiaries. As a co-owner of Advantage Pharmacy, May received a portion of the reimbursements associated with the fraudulently obtained compound creams and transferred certain of those proceeds from the fraud – in transactions greater than $10,000 – into a money market account held in his name.
Schaar pled guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud for his role in a fraudulent scheme in which he, acting as a marketer for a pharmacy located in Lamar County, solicited physicians and other medical professionals to write prescriptions without seeing patients for compound topical creams dispensed by the pharmacy. Schaar, together with others, later falsified patient records to make it seem as though medical professionals had examined the patients who received prescriptions for the compound creams. In total, the pharmacy received $2.3 million in reimbursements for the prescriptions solicited by Schaar.
The charges against May and Schaar were brought as a result of the largest ever national health care fraud enforcement action by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, involving 412 charged defendants in 41 federal districts across the country, targeting schemes which involved billing Medicare, Medicaid, and TRICARE (a health insurance program for members and veterans of the armed forces and their families) for medically unnecessary prescription drugs and compounded medications that often were never even purchased and/or distributed to beneficiaries.
“Health care fraud costs the United States tens of billions of dollars a year,” said Christopher Freeze, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Mississippi. “The FBI Jackson
Division, alongside our law enforcement partners, will continue to seek out those that defraud health care systems in the United States.”
“DCIS and our investigative partners remain committed to bringing to justice any individuals who defraud TRICARE, the Department of Defense health care program dedicated to providing medical care to military members and their families,” stated Special Agent in Charge John F. Khin, Southeast Field Office, DCIS. “The fraud and corruption uncovered as part of this complex case diverted and wasted precious taxpayer dollars needed for the critical care and well-being of our military members and their families.”
Jason May and Gerald Jay Schaar will be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Keith Starrett on October 17, 2017 in Hattiesburg. May faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Schaar faces a maximum penalty of ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
This case was investigated by the FBI’s Hattiesburg Resident Agency, IRS-Criminal Investigation, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, and other government agencies. Department of Justice trial attorneys Dustin Davis and Katherine Payerle, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Helen Wall are prosecuting the case for the government.