Biloxi doctor charged in compounding pharmacy fraud scheme
HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - A Biloxi physician was charged on Wednesday for his role in a multi-million dollar scheme to defraud TRICARE, the health care benefit program serving our nation's military, veterans and their respective family members.
Albert Diaz, M.D., of Ocean Springs, was charged in a 16 count indictment in the Southern District of Mississippi and is scheduled to make his initial court appearance on Oct. 31. U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst, FBI Special Agent Christopher Freeze and IRS-Criminal Investigation Special Agent Jerome McDuffie mad the announcement in a Department of Justice press release.
According to the indictment, Diaz allegedly participated in a scheme to defraud TRICARE by prescribing medically unnecessary compounded medications, including the controlled substance Ketamine, to individuals without examining the individuals, for the purpose of having a Hattiesburg-based compounding pharmacy dispense the unnecessary medications while having TRICARE reimburse the pharmacy.
TRICARE reimbursed the pharmacy more than $2.3 million for the medications prescribed by Diaz from October 2014 and December 2015, according to the indictment. The indictment also alleges that Diaz submitted falsified patient records indicating that he had examined the individuals prior to prescribing the compounded medications.
The indictment is designated as being related to two other cases charged earlier this year in the Southern District of Mississippi.
Jason May, the pharmacist-in-charge of Advantage Pharmacy pleaded guilty on July 25, 2017, to conspiracy to commit health care fraud and money laundering regarding a scheme to defraud health care benefit programs, including TRICARE, of more than $190 million.
Marketer Gerald Schaar also pleaded guilty on July 25 to conspiracy to commit health care fraud regarding a scheme to defraud TRICARE of more than $2.3 million.
If convicted, Diaz faces up to 305 years in jail and fines up to $7.5 million.