A Huntsville man who is part-owner of a Florida-based pharmacy was sentenced to more than two years in federal prison for his role in a $54 million bribery and kickback scheme that targeted the government health insurance program for current and retired military members and their families, the Justice Department said Tuesday.
James Wesley Moss, 60, of Huntsville, who pleaded guilty to kickback and fraud conspiracy, among other charges, was part-owner of Florida Pharmacy Solutions, or FPS, which specialized in compound prescription drugs.
Two others — FPS part-owner and senior sales manager David Byron Copeland, 55, of Tallahassee, Florida and FPS lead sales representative Michael Gordon, 60, of Fort Myers, Florida — engaged in what is known as “test billing” to develop the most expensive combination of compounded drugs to maximize their reimbursement from TRICARE.
The three men and their accomplices targeted doctors who treated TRICARE beneficiaries and paid bribes and kickbacks to the physicians and salespeople to encourage the referral of prescriptions to FPS, the Justice Department said, citing court documents and evidence at trial.
The bribes included lavish hunting trips and expenses dinners. FPS employees also used “blanket letters of authorization” that allowed FPS to change prescription components to make them more profitable, the agency said.
Moss paid Copeland and Gordon millions of dollars in kickbacks based on a percentage of the amount TRICARE reimbursed for the prescriptions, which provided an incentive to seek prescriptions for the most compounded drugs possible such as pain and scar creams.
Copeland facilitated the kickbacks through companies he set up to receive and funnel the payments, the Justice Department said.
The company billed TRICARE more than $54 billion from late 2012 through mid-2015, the agency said.
Copeland received a four-year, three-month prison sentence for his role in the scheme while Gordon was sentenced to 18 months in prison. In April, co-defendant Edward Christopher White was sentenced to two years and nine months in prison after pleading guilty for his role in the scheme.