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Editor's note: This article by Patricia Kime originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.
For those who saw a loophole, it was easy money.
In 2013, a handful of pharmacy companies that make compounded medications — personalized dosages or formulas normally crafted for patients who can't tolerate certain ingredients — discovered they could make treatments such as pain and scar creams, wound ointments and erectile dysfunction drugs, and market them to patients enrolled in Tricare.
Then, they could bill the government a hefty sum, between $400 and $10,000 per prescription, making enough to cover the cost of beneficiaries' co-payments, provide kickbacks to participating physicians and middlemen, and generously pad their own pockets.
When the Defense Health Agency's losses caused by these specious prescriptions topped nearly $1.5 billion in the first half of 2015, the Pentagon moved to restrict its coverage of all compounded medications.
And the Justice Department began pursuing the unscrupulous pharmacists, doctors, marketers and salesmen involved, including military troops who saw the largest case of medical fraud in the Pentagon's history as a chance to make cash on the side.
Ex-pharmacist gets 2 years, $7 million bill for role in scheme to bilk Tricare out of more than $100 million
A former pharmacist from Irving has been sentenced to two years in federal prison for his role in a health-care kickback scheme that scammed the military's insurance program out of more than $100 million, court records show.
Ravi Morisetty, 44, is one of 13 defendants, including doctors and marketers, in the Trilogy Pharmacy case, and he is the first to be sentenced. He pleaded guilty last year to his role in the fraud.
The pharmacy's two owners, Jeffrey Fuller and Andrew Baumiller, also have pleaded guilty in the case and are awaiting sentencing.
Allegations of retaliation against whistleblowers in the California National Guard are more widespread than the complaints made at a Fresno air base that led to a dramatic leadership shakeup of the organization earlier this month, The Times has found.
Interviews with current and former Guard members and an examination of internal documents show that complaints go well beyond Fresno and extend to the army side as well. The allegations have come from fighter pilots, a top military prosecutor, Special Forces officers and a colonel who hoped to head the organization.
They allege a pattern of both retaliation against whistleblowers and others who accuse their superiors of misconduct and a failure of the Guard's justice system to protect them.
Thomas Brock, a South Carolina man who betrayed his wife, double-crossed a friend and cheated the federal government of more than $150 million in military construction contracts, will be going to federal prison for 51 months.
A former top Navy official took personal trips — including 2 vacations to Hawaii — on the taxpayers' dime
The former director of the Navy's sexual assault and prevention office wasted government resources for years by taking official trips primarily for personal reasons, including what amounted to two family vacations in Hawaii, the Defense Department's Inspector General said in a recent report.
A federal grand jury in Denver has indicted three people — a U.S. Air Force major, a veteran National Security Agency agent and the owner of a private government contractor — in an alleged $1.5 million bid-rigging scheme.