Ocean Springs pharmacy owners sentenced to prison in healthcare fraud case

Ocean Springs pharmacy owners sentenced to prison in healthcare fraud case
Lovelace Drug Store's last day of operation will be July 31. (Photo source: WLOX)

OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. (WLOX) - Two owners of an Ocean Springs pharmacy have been sentenced to federal prison in relation to an alleged $18 million healthcare fraud scheme.

Dempsey Bryan Levi and Jeffrey Rollins are accused of taking part in an elaborate five-year scheme involving expensive compounded pain creams.

Both Levi and Rollins were sentenced to serve seven years in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, and pay $16,333,583 in restitution to Medicare, Tricare and Express Scripts. Additionally, the government received a forfeiture of $924,114.40.

Rollins and Levi previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud. At their guilty plea hearings, the defendants admitted to operating The Gardens Pharmacy, LLC, an open-door retail pharmacy that specialized in the production of compound medications, and in their positions, they solicited recruiters to obtain prescriptions for high-adjudicating compounded medications that were often ordered with numerous refills.

The recruiters were paid a percentage of the reimbursements that health care benefit programs paid to the pharmacy, including for Medicare and TRICARE beneficiaries, even though it is unlawful to pay commissions to distributors on referrals to federal programs.

Rollins and Levi assisted in formulating compound medications that were targeted to maximize reimbursements, irrespective of medical necessity. They also admitted to soliciting and incentivizing doctors to authorize prescriptions for the high-adjudicating compounded medications.

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