Trial date extended for nurse practitioner indicted in compound - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Trial date extended for nurse practitioner indicted in compound pharmacy scheme

The indictment alleges that both Perry and Diaz participated in schemes to defraud TRICARE by prescribing medically unnecessary compound medications including pain creams. (Photo Source: Pixabay) The indictment alleges that both Perry and Diaz participated in schemes to defraud TRICARE by prescribing medically unnecessary compound medications including pain creams. (Photo Source: Pixabay)
HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) -

Susan Perry, a Mississippi-based nurse practitioner, who was charged in a 13-count healthcare fraud indictment was set to appear in court on April 16. However, lawyers on her behalf filed a motion on March 19 for a continuance in her trial based on the following:  

"The government designated its expert witness on March 9, 2018. Ms. Perry will require additional time to obtain expert witnesses to rebut the Government's experts and as a result is requesting a continuance."

The motion goes on to list five reasons for a continuance including discrepancies based on patient records compared to documents from the government, prior continuances, obtaining undersigned attorneys, seeking additional time to rebut the government's experts and the complex nature of the case. 

"Ms. Perry is a nurse practitioner. The Government has charged her with various counts of health care fraud in a 13 count indictment. The underlying common charge is that Ms. Perry improperly prescribed certain compounded creams. Ms. Perry's patient records indicate that she prescribed the pain creams to approximately 90 patients over a four year period. The Government's discovery indicates that there were approximately 1, 973 prescriptions written by Ms. Perry. The Government has also produced an excel spreadsheet from Advantage Pharmacy, which shows that it filled a total of 13, 900 prescriptions of various pain creams."

Perry’s motion was granted on March 20. Her new trial date is scheduled for June 25 in Hattiesburg at the William M. Colmer Federal Building with U.S. District Judge Keith Starrett presiding. 

"THEREFORE,  the court is of the opinion and so finds that the motion for a continuance of this matter should be granted; and that for the reasons set forth herein, that the ends of justice served by granting the continuance outweigh the best interests of the public and the defendant in a speedy trial and the failure to grant the continuance would result in a miscarriage of justice."  

The order states that “discovery in this case is voluminous and defense counsel will need additional time to review said discovery and prepare for trial” as the reason why the courts are unopposed to granting the motion request.

According to authorities, Perry allegedly defrauded TRICARE--- a healthcare benefit program serving the U.S. military and their respective family members. The 58-year-old Grand Bay, Alabama native is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and wire fraud, four counts of wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to distribute and dispense a controlled substance, one count of distributing and dispensing of a controlled substance, one count of conspiracy to solicit and receive healthcare kickbacks, four counts of soliciting and receiving healthcare kickbacks and one count of making false statements.

The indictment states that TRICARE reimbursed more than $3.3 million in compounded medications prescribed by Perry and she allegedly received $50,000 in kickbacks. 

Albert Diaz, a Biloxi-based physician was found guilty of his role in the same scheme last month. He was indicted on 16 charges including one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud, four counts of wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to distribute and dispense a controlled substance, four counts of distributing and dispensing of a controlled substance, one count of conspiracy to falsify records in a federal investigation and five counts of falsification of records in a federal investigation. Diaz has filed a motion for a retrial, but the judge has not rendered a decision. His sentencing is set for May 22. 

Copyright WDAM 2017. All rights reserved. 

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