Support grows for doctor indicted in compound pharmacy scheme

Support grows for doctor indicted in compound pharmacy scheme
Diaz will be sentenced on May 22. (Photo source: WDAM)
Diaz will be sentenced on May 22. (Photo source: WDAM)
Albert Diaz and his wife, Kay Diaz, hug their daughters as they depart from the William M. Colmer Federal Building after the end of the fourth day of his trial.
Albert Diaz and his wife, Kay Diaz, hug their daughters as they depart from the William M. Colmer Federal Building after the end of the fourth day of his trial.

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - I love you.

That's just some of the heartfelt and encouraging words people have shared on the 'Support Albert Diaz, MD' Facebook page within the past month. As Dr. Albert Diaz, a Biloxi-based physician, sits behind bars charged on a 16-count federal indictment, his support from family and friends ones continues to grow.

"Dr. Diaz is probably one of the kindest people I know," said Ganda Greer. "He treated us like we were his family. He cared for and respected us like we were family. He treated his patients the same way."

Greer, a labor and delivery nurse, has known Diaz for nearly 20 years. She says when she heard the news of his indictment, her heart broke.

"When I got the text message, we (nurses) were all upset," Greer said. "Everybody was crying not knowing that this would happen to such a wonderful person (and) that he would get caught up in something like this."

Greer believes her colleague and friend was taken advantage of, because of his willingness to always help others.

"I feel like he got duped," she said. "That's just my opinion. I tried to take all of the personal feelings I have for him out of it and try to listen to the facts and I still come up with the same thing just knowing him and what a trusting person he is."

Just shy of 1,000 likes, the 'Support Albert Diaz, MD' Facebook page is overflowing with posts from people recalling their experiences with him. On March 2, he was found guilty of 16 charges in a compound pharmacy scheme to defraud TRICARE--- a healthcare program for uniformed service members and their families of more than $2.3 million.

It appears that the page was created on March 4, just two days after he was taken into custody. The first post on the profile is a photo message saying "Let Goodness Prevail" and the profile and cover profile are photos of him with his family.

"I do support Dr. Diaz and I appreciate that man so much," said Hannah Wallace who has known Diaz for over 20 years. "If I could talk to Dr. Diaz right now, I would say please keep your head up, stay strong and you were such a wonderful doctor any girl could ask for."

The Saucier resident drove 30 minutes to be seen by Diaz when she was pregnant citing he was the best doctor on the coast. Not only did Diaz deliver Wallace's two children, but also her and both of her siblings. She's even referred her friends to the physician. So, it came as a shock to her when she saw he was guilty of the charges.

"I am just furious with all of this going on," she said. "I don't think he deserves this. He is so caring for all of his patients."

Those in support of Dr. Diaz can now purchase $5.00 bracelets inscribed with 'Justice for Diaz' and #teamDiaz. The proceeds go to the March of Dimes for babies in his name, according to the Facebook post.

There's also a 16-member prayer group for Diaz on Facebook called 'Prayer Chain for Dr. Albert Diaz.' The public group was created on March 8 by Holly Bennett Shumate. Shumate and others post inspirational picture quotes like "never doubt the power of prayer."

On March 23, Diaz's attorney filed a motion for revocation or amendment of the detention order from March 13. The motion is a request to allow Diaz to be placed on bail with conditions pending his upcoming sentencing hearing on May 21.

On March 13, U.S. Magistrate Judge John Gargiulo denied Diaz bond stating:

"defendant has not overcome the presumption, because he has not established that there is a substantial likelihood that a motion for new trial will be granted, the government has not recommended that no sentence of imprisonment be imposed; and defendant has not established by clear and convincing evidence that he is not a flight risk or a danger to any other person or the community."

Lawyers for Diaz contend that despite the judge's ruling, he is not a flight risk or a danger to anyone and the community. In the motion, his attorney's say he rebutted the presumption and established the following:

1. Your defendant is a 78-year-old physician with no criminal record, longtime resident and business owner in Mississippi for over 45 years, and was on bail in this exact case since Nov. 1, 2017 to March 2, 2018 which rebuts the presumption.

The government has until April 3 to respond to the motion. Diaz faces 305 years in jail and fines up to $7.5 million. His sentencing is expected to take place on May 21 at 9:30 a.m. in District Judge Keith Starrett's courtroom.

While Diaz continues to sit in jail, his supporters remain confident that he will be okay,

"I've been praying for every night from the time I found out," said Greer crying.

Follow his trial here:

Day 3: Video evidence: Doctor wrote prescriptions without evaluating patients