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Pharmacy Rep Sentenced to 8 Years in Compound Cream Scheme

Tuesday, August 6, 2019 | 0

A Georgia man has been sentenced to eight years in prison for his role in what federal prosecutors said was a compound cream scheme that defrauded insurers out of more than $6.5 million.

Michael Burton, 52, of Decatur, Georgia, pleaded guilty to health care fraud, wire fraud and money laundering charges, and was sentenced last week, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.

Burton was one of six people in Florida and Georgia arrested in 2018 in connection with the scheme. Burton, who must also pay $6.5 million in restitution, was a sales representative for a Pensacola, Florida, pharmacy. In the scheme that ran throughout 2014 and 2015, he recruited two people who had access to patients' insurance cards and drivers' licenses.

Burton would send that information to a Georgia doctor's practice, where a co-conspirator would forge prescriptions that were then filled by the Pensacola pharmacy, prosecutors said. Burton was paid a commission for each compounded drug prescription paid by insurance. Burton reportedly made more than $1.4 million in the scheme, prosecutors said.

The plan mostly targeted TRICARE, the insurance program for members of the military, veterans and their families, but other insurance carriers also were victims, authorities have said.

The Georgia co-conspirator in the case, Brad Hodgson, is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty. Sales rep Bradley Pounds was sentenced to 21 months in prison. Sales rep Heather Pounds and Hodgson' assistant were sentenced to probation. Andrew Fisher, part owner of the Pensacola pharmacy, is awaiting trial set for next month, federal authorities said.

"Crimes like this increase the costs we all pay for healthcare and prescription drugs," said Rick Swearingen, commissioner of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. "I thank our FDLE Pensacola office for spearheading this complex investigation and our U.S. Attorney’s Office for prosecuting this case."

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