Federal documents reveal names, properties seized in multi-state - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Federal documents reveal names, properties seized in multi-state pharmacy raid

Federal documents reveal properties seized after a federal and state agency led raid back in January. Source: WDAM Federal documents reveal properties seized after a federal and state agency led raid back in January. Source: WDAM
HATTIESBURG, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

In late January members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, Internal Revenue Service and multiple other state agencies raided four businesses related to pharmacies in the Hub City, and seized millions in assets.

Those raids covered multiple states, including Utah, Alabama and Florida as well as other locations across Mississippi.

Roughly five months later, federal court documents have been unsealed, shedding light on aspects of the raids. The documents revealed at least $11 million in property. 

Below are the claimants listed in the case summary of the forfeiture filings involved in the case:  

  • Wade Walters
  • Randel Smith
  • Joele Smith
  • Ranjo Properties LLC
  • Leaf River Investments LLC
  • Ranjo Farms LLC
  • Ranjo Louisiana Properties LLC
  • Ranjo Holdings LLC
  • Pearl River Valley Water Supply District
  • Hope E. Thomley
  • Thomley’s Christmas Tree Farm
  • United Business Ventures, LLC
  • Thomley Properties, LLC
  • Howard Randall Thomley
  • Magnolia State Bank
  • The First, A National Banking Association
  • Jonnita Barrett
  • Chad Barrett
  • Brew Barr LLC
  • Dorothy H. Walters
  • Trace M. Walters
  • David Haws
  • Hope Haws

Court documents showed that the case involves criminal fraud against various programs funded by the U.S. Government. This includes TRICARE, Department of Labor Office of Worker’s Compensation, and the laundering of the criminal proceeds. 

According to the documents, some of the subjects of this investigation own and operate numerous pharmacies that market and prepare compound medications. As general practice, compounding pharmacies create custom medications based upon a specific prescription written by a doctor.

The document explains: 

“Many of the subjects have engaged in price rolling, which is also known as price testing. This type of fraud occurs when a pharmacy employee suits a claim to an insurance provider to “test” the amount of reimbursement for a specific prescription. This claim is often retracted or canceled, and a “new” claim is submitted using a different compounding formulation to determine if the “new” claim is reimbursed at a higher rate.”

Pharmacies involved are known to automatically refill prescription in spite of doctors’ orders and/or if the patient wishes not to refill the prescriptions. In some instances patients were offered payments, told to destroy medications, to keep them from canceling the automatic refills, or from returning the medications.

The document continues: 

“If a patient returns the medication, the pharmacy is obligated to reverse its claim to the insurance program. Many of the pharmacies tell their patients that they do not have to pay co-pays or they make no effort to collect the co-pay.”

According to one informant, one of the pharmacies paid its employees to purchase “Green Dot” cards that were then used to pay patient co-pays.

Alternatively, the pharmacy may offer a co-pay “rebate” or cousin program. These programs often make it appear that a co-pay has been paid, but the money is often funneled through intermediaries from the pharmacy.

Court documents show that many patients have received prescription medications without having ever seen, or even knowing the doctor that prescribed the medications. 

The subject pharmacies are believed to bill for ingredients that are not contained in the actual compound medications in order to receive a higher reimbursement from the insurance programs.

According to the document,

“Many of the pharmacies are known to use affiliates or shell companies to hide their involvement from certain insurance programs.” 

Through marketing companies, which are under the control or direction of the co-conspirators, kickbacks, or incentives were paid to healthcare providers to prescribe compounding medications that were filled by subject pharmacies.

The investigation has uncovered evidence that proceeds from the alleged health care fraud and money laundering were used directly, indirectly, to purchase the defendant Real Properties. 

Real Properties listed in case filings:

  • 19 Crane Park, Hattiesburg, Lamar County Mississippi. Lot 20 of Canebrake 
  • 104 Bocage Court, Hattiesburg, Lamar County Mississippi. Lot 4 of Canebrake
  • Property on Bocage Court, Lot 13 of Canebrake
  • 80 Sandy Creek Drive, Santa Rosa Beach, Walton County, Florida. Lot 17, Sndy Creek at WaterColor
  • Property on North Black Creek Road, Sumrall, Lamar County, Mississippi.
  • 635 North Black Creek Road, Sumrall, Lamar County, Mississippi.
  • Property in Tallahatchie County, Mississippi, 80  acres.
  • Property in Tallahatchie County, Mississippi, 77  acres.
  • Property in Tallahatchie County, Mississippi, 86  acres.
  • Property in Tallahatchie County, Mississippi, 97  acres.
  • Property located at 6131 Yeats Manor Drive, Tampa, Hillsborough County, Florida. Lot 1, Block 34, Westshore Yacht Club.
  • Property at 300 Willow Creek Drive, Vicksburg, Warren County, Mississippi. 
  • Property at 4944 Hickory Shoers Blvd., Gulf Breeze, Santa Rosa County, Florida. 
  • Property at 132 Dunleith Way, Clinton, Hinds County, Mississippi. Lot 17.
  • Property on Dunleith Way, Clinton, Hinds County, Mississippi. Lot 16 and 18.
  • Property at 550 Post Road #25-5, Ridgeland, Madison County, Mississippi. 
  • Property at 800 College Hill, Unit No. 2302, Oxford, Lafayette County, Mississippi. 
  • Property at 800 College Hill, Unit No. 2201, Oxford, Lafayette County, Mississippi.
  • Property at 43 Sandy Creek Circle, Santa Rosa Beach, Walton County, Florida.
  • Property at 321 Steelman Road, Hattiesburg, Lamar County, Mississippi. 
  • Property at Lot 9, Fisher Point Big Bay Lake, Lumberton, Lamar County, Mississippi. 
  • Property at Lot 11, Fisher Point Big Bay Lake, Lumberton, Lamar County, Mississippi.
  • Property at 16 Ballantrae Drive, Hattiesburg, Lamar County, Mississippi.
  • Property at 10 Cottontail Way W. Purvis, Lamar County, Mississippi. 
  • Property located at 15 Tuscan Lane, Sumrall, Lamar County, Mississippi. Lots 4 and 5 of Sienna Fields Subdivision. 
  • Property located at 19 Tuscan Lane, S., Sumrall, Lamar County, Mississippi. 
  • Property at 120 Bellegrass Blvd., Hattiesburg, Lamar County, Mississippi. 
  • Property in Forrest County, Township 5 North, 100 acres (more or less).
  • Property at Dover Trace, Lot 2, Hattiesburg, Forrest County, Mississippi. Lots D-2 and D-3. 
  • Property at 1020 Southwest Railroad Avenue, Hammond, Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana. 
  • Property in Rabbit Rub Subdivision, Hammond, Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana. Lots 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11-36, 40, 41 and 42. 
  • Property at 320 Grandmas Lane, Fayetteville, Fayette County, Georgia. 
  • Property on Buford Gillis Road, Perry County, Mississippi. 
  • Property on Old River Road, Perry County, Mississippi.
  • Property at 23 Deer Valley Drive, Hattiesburg, Lamar County, Mississippi. 
  • Property at 50 Hegwood Road, Hattiesburg, Lamar County, Mississippi. 
  • Property located at 197 Canebrake, Brake S, Lamar County, Mississippi.
  • Property at 56, 98 Place Blvd. Hattiesburg, Lamar County, Mississippi. 
  • Property located at Hwy 44 Sumrall, Lamar County, Mississippi.
  • Property located on Foster Road, Sumrall, Lamar County, Mississippi. (20 acres, more or less)
  • Property located on JD Hatten Road, Sumrall, Lamar County, Mississippi. (20 acres, more or less)
  • Property located at 775 Gulf Shore Drive, Bldg. 36, Destin, Okaloosa County, Florida. 
  • Property located at 775 Gulf Shore Drive, Bldg. 36, Destin, Okaloosa County, Florida. Unit 9136.
  • Property located at 775 Gulf Shore Drive, Bldg. 158, Unit 2154. Destin, Okaloosa County, Florida.
  • Property located at 775 Gulf Shore Drive, Bldg. 35, Unit 2085. Destin, Okaloosa County, Florida.
  • Property located at 775 Gulf Shore Drive, Bldg. 9, Unit 9104 Destin, Okaloosa County, Florida.
  • Property at 47 Cooper Creek, Hattiesburg, Lamar County, Mississippi. 
  • Property located at 123 Higgins Road, Sumrall, Lamar County, Mississippi. 

M. Ray (Hoppy) Cole, Chief Executive Officer and President of The First, A National Banking Association and one of the claimants listed in the case summary of the forfeiture filings involved in the case, released a statement Tuesday, in regards to this matter.

“The First, A National Banking Association, was listed as a Claimant because the bank, as a secured creditor, has a deed of trust lien interest in two of the properties against which the U.S. government has taken action.  The bank simply asserted its lien interest in those two properties through the claim process outlined for Civil Forfeiture In Rem proceedings. The First is not involved in any way with the alleged pharmaceutical scheme or the target of any investigation related thereto.  Unfortunately, the media reports failed to make any distinction in their reporting as to Claimants who are owners of the property seized and those that are secured creditors, such as The First.”

Copyright WDAM 2016. All rights reserved. 

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