California Marines Wrapped Up In $67 Million Scam To Rip Off TRICARE

news

A group of Marines based in southern California are embroiled in a health insurance scam that cost the military’s medical provider, TRICARE, more than $67 million. The scheme, reported by the San Diego Union-Tribune on Aug. 18, involved Marines who were allegedly paid $100 to $300 a month to talk to doctors as part of a “telemedicine exam,” according to an affidavit obtained by the Union-Tribune.


The alleged scam involved a network of Marines in southern California who would call into a doctor’s office in Cleveland, Tennessee, to receive prescriptions for compounded medication — expensive drugs tailor-made for patients — that would be then filled by a pharmacy in Bountiful, Utah, that had a license to ship to California. Then TRICARE was billed for the costly medication.

According to the report, the Utah pharmacy was sold to new owners in 2014. After the new owners took over, the number of claims to TRICARE for compound medications shot up dramatically. Just four months into 2015, the number of prescriptions for the expensive drugs ballooned to 4,637, resulting in $67.3 million in reimbursements from TRICARE, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Related: TRICARE Just Added Important New Mental Health And Drug Benefits »

The Union-Tribune broke the story after the U.S. Attorney’s Office filed a complaint on Aug. 17 in San Diego, as part of an asset forfeiture case against Jimmy and Ashley Collins, who own Choice MD, a medical practice in Cleveland, Tennessee. The majority of the prescriptions were authorized by emergency room doctors who worked for Choice MD.

No arrests have been made in the ongoing San Diego investigation, though these kinds of scams aren’t new. Investigations into similar cases across the country have led to arrests, with a Pompano Beach, Florida pharmacy owner facing charges of attempting to rip off TRICARE for $37 million in a similar scheme involving compound medication.

TRICARE, the military’s medical provider, serves more than 9.4 million service members and their families.

“While we cannot comment on open investigations, TRICARE is committed to protecting the integrity of the benefits our service members have earned and deserve,” TRICARE officials told Task & Purpose via email. “We have and will continue to work with law enforcement departments and agencies to stop these fraudulent activities.”

WATCH NEXT:

U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Destinee Sweeney
(U.S. Army/Staff Sgt. Ken Scar)

SEOUL (Reuters) - The South Korean military fired two warning shots at a Russian military aircraft that entered South Korean airspace on Tuesday, the Ministry of National Defense in Seoul said, and Chinese military aircraft had also entered South Korean airspace.

It was the first time a Russian military aircraft had violated South Korean airspace, a ministry official said.

Read More Show Less
(U.S. Army/Capt. Richard Barke)

First, America had to grapple with the 'storm Area 51' raid. Now black helicopters are hovering ominously over Washington, D.C.

Bloomberg's Tony Capaccio first reported on Monday that the Army has requested $1.55 million for a classified mission involving 10 UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters and a “Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility" at Fort Belvoir, Va.

Read More Show Less
(Facebook photo)

Camesha Walters was a petty officer 3rd class living in Norfolk. Her husband was a foreign national living in Bangladesh.

But to boost her take home pay, Walters told the Navy in 2015 her husband was a U.S. citizen living in Brooklyn, N.Y. She said she needed larger housing and cost of living allowances to support him.

Walters, 37, was sentenced Friday to five months in jail on charges she stole almost $140,000 from the federal government.

Following her release, she will be on house arrest for six months. She also must perform 200 hours of community service and pay full restitution.

Read More Show Less
(Shit My LPO says 4)

If it looks too good to be true, chances are it probably is.

Read More Show Less

In a not-so-veiled threat to the Taliban, President Donald Trump argued on Monday the United States has the capacity to bring a swift end to the 17-year-old war in Afghanistan, but he is seeking a different solution to avoid killing "10 million people."

"I have plans on Afghanistan that if I wanted to win that war, Afghanistan would be wiped off the face of the Earth," Trump said on Monday at the White House. "It would be gone. It would be over in – literally in 10 days. And I don't want to do that. I don't want to go that route."

Read More Show Less