HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - This is a news release from the Mississippi attorney general's office.
Attorney General Jim Hood announced Tuesday that a Hattiesburg pharmacy technician has been arrested following a joint investigation by the Health and Human Services Division of the Office of Inspector General, the Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the Attorney General's Insurance Integrity Division.
Austin Grant O'dom, 33, was arrested last week following two separate indictments by a Forrest County grand jury. O'dom was booked into the Forrest County Jail and released on a $20,000 bond.
The first indictment charges O'dom with three counts of insurance fraud and three counts of wire fraud. The indictment alleges O'dom submitted fraudulent billing statements in order to obtain money from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi and Caremark for prescriptions that were never ordered. The wire fraud charges are based on the fraudulent forms being transmitted via facsimile across county or state jurisdictional lines, according to the indictment. If convicted of these charges, O'dom faces up to three years in prison for each count of insurance fraud and up to five years in prison for each count of wire fraud.
The second indictment charges O'dom with three counts of Medicaid Fraud and three counts of fraud in connection with state- or federally funded assistance programs. This indictment accuses O'dom of making fraudulent claims of Medicaid and Medicare benefits for valid prescriptions of medications, which were never dispensed to the patients/beneficiaries of Medicaid and Medicare. O'dom also falsely claimed the medications were name-brand but were in fact generic, according to the indictment. If convicted of the Medicaid fraud charges, O'dom faces up to five years in prison and $50,000 in fines for each count.
If convicted, O'dom would also be required to pay treble penalties on any money fraudulently received from the Medicaid program. In addition, for the three counts of fraud in connection with state- or federally funded assistance programs, O'dom faces a total of six years in prison and $30,000 in fines, and he would be required to pay full restitution to the Medicare program.
O'dom was formerly employed as a pharmacy technician at a pharmacy in Hattiesburg. As with all cases, a charge is merely an accusation, and a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
This case will be prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorneys General Katie Moulds and Larry Baker.