A former Marine helped recruit service members for a scheme to bilk the Department of Defense for cash by purchasing tubes of scar cream that did nothing to treat scars for insane prices, according to a remarkable investigation by the Nashville Tennessean.
Two doctors and a nurse at the Tennessee clinic have already pleaded guilty to defrauding Tricare to the tune of $65 million, while several other suspects, including the former Marine and employees at a Utah-based pharmacy, have already admitted to their role in the scheme.
The scam itself was simple, according to the Tennessean: "The Marine was being paid to get medicine he didn't need. A Tennessee doctor he had never met wrote him a medicinal cream prescription, which was being filled by a pharmacy in Utah. The military covered the bill and the Marine got a cash kickback from somebody."
The medicine Mederma, supposedly used to treat pain and scars, runs for about $30 a tube on Amazon; according to the investigation, the Tennessee pharmacy was prescribing the stuff to Marines at $14,500 a tube as far back as 2015.
Court documents reviewed by The Tennessean indicate that the recruiters, led by former Marine Joshua Morgan, "targeted Marines around Camp Pendleton, often by convincing the Marines they were joining a drug trial for the pain and scar creams. Marines were paid about $300 in illegal kickbacks each month," according to the investigation.
According to a 2015 CBS News report, the scar cream scheme succeeded by exploiting a loophole in Tricare regarding "compounded" medications which rely on mixing several medicines into a single treatment — medications that were fully covered by Tricare despite the absence of formal reviews of their effectiveness by the Food and Drug Administration
"We're on track this year to spend over $2 billion unless we get our hands around this," former Tricare chief Maj. Gen. Richard Thomas said in the 2015 CBS report. "It's just been astronomical, an explosion of the charges in a relatively short period of time."
Navy Secretary Richard Spencer took the reins at the Pentagon on Monday, becoming the third acting defense secretary since January.
Spencer is expected to temporarily lead the Pentagon while the Senate considers Army Secretary Mark Esper's nomination to succeed James Mattis as defense secretary. The Senate officially received Esper's nomination on Monday.
U.S. Special Operations Command may be on the verge of making the dream of flying infantry soldiers a reality, but the French may very well beat them to it.
On Sunday, French President Emmanuel Macron shared an unusual video showing a man on a flying platform — widely characterized as a "hoverboard" — maneuvering through the skies above the Bastille Day celebrations in Paris armed with what appears to be a dummy firearm.
The video was accompanied with a simple message of "Fier de notre armée, moderne et innovante," which translates to "proud of our army, modern and innovative," suggesting that the French Armed Forces may be eyeing the unusual vehicle for potential military applications.
If such experiments took place, the amendment would require the inspector general's office to tell lawmakers if any of the ticks or other bugs "were released outside of any laboratory by accident or experiment design."
There's no one path to military service. For some, it's a lifelong goal, for others, it's a choice made in an instant.
For 27-year-old Marine Pvt. Atiqullah Assadi, who graduated from Marine Corps bootcamp on July 12, the decision to enlist was the culmination of a journey that began when he and his family were forced to flee their home in Afghanistan.
The Air Force has administratively separated the Nellis Air Force Base sergeant who was investigated for making racist comments about her subordinates in a video that went viral last year, Task & Purpose has learned.