Washington – A businessman from Mississippi was convicted on 15th January 2021 for his role and participation in a multimillion-dollar conspiracy to swindle the TRICARE program, the health care program that serves the United States military, veterans, and their respective kin, as well as private health care programs.
Wade Ashley Walters, from Hattiesburg, age 54, a part-owner of several compounding pharmacies and pharmaceutical suppliers, was convicted on 15th January 2021 on his confession to one charge of scheme to execute health care fraud and one conspiracy count to commit money laundering. Keith Starrett, United States District Judge of Mississippi’s Southern District, sentenced Wade Walters to a total of 18 years in federal prison and ordered him to reimburse 287,659,569 U.S. dollars in restitution. Wade Walters was held into custody after the conviction hearing. Wade Walters was also directed to forfeit 56,565,963 U.S. dollars, representing the profits he personally acquired from the fraud conspiracy.
The Justice Department – Criminal Division Acting Assistant Attorney General David P. Burns stated that the fraud executed by Wade Walters and others in this inquiry misused hundreds of millions of taxpayer funds and deprived persons of required medical care. Burns further added that the 15th January 2021 significant conviction indicates that they would relentlessly continue to work together with their agency partners to eradicate health care fraud conspiracies and ensure the offenders are held accountable.
From 2012 to 2016, Wade Walters planned a conspiracy to swindle TRICARE and other health care programs by distributing medically unnecessary compounded drugs. As part of the conspiracy, Wade Walters and his co-schemers, among other things, modified prescription formulas to ensure the highest payment regardless of efficacy; solicited patient recruiters to buy high-margin compounded drugs prescriptions and reimbursed those recruiters commissions according to the percentage of the payments reimbursed by pharmacy benefit managers and health care benefit systems, together with commissions on submissions paid by the TRICARE program; solicited (and at times reimbursing kickbacks to) physicians to permit for high-margin compounded drugs prescriptions; systematically and frequently waived and/or reduced copays to be reimbursed by beneficiaries and members, like using an alleged copayment assistance system to deceptively make it look as if the pharmacies were collecting copays.
The Mississippi’s Southern District U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst stated that Although there is more work to undertake, the public can be guaranteed that they would persistently hold offenders accountable and that justice will always be upheld in Mississippi’s Southern District. United States Attorney Mike Hurst also commended their Justice Department trial attorneys, prosecutors, and each member of this phenomenal team of local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies for uncovering this conspiracy and holding all criminals accountable.
The FBI – Jackson Field Office Special Agent in Charge Michelle Sutphin stated that this conspiracy to steal TRICARE out of hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars diverted taxpayer dollars from important services and medical care and victimized the courageous men and women who unselfishly serve or have served the United States. Special Agent Sutphin further added that the investigation into this particular conspiracy, which currently extends across numerous states and FBI field offices, started in the FBI – Jackson Field Office. Sutphin added that she was incredibly pleased by the commitment of their Intelligence Analysts, Special Agents, and professional support personnel, plus their partner agencies’ support, which made cases like this effective. Sutphin also said that the FBI and their enforcement partners are dedicated to pursuing those individuals who intend to rob others for their financial gain.
Wade Walters and his multiple co-schemers set up a conspiracy to swindle health care programs, such as the TRICARE program, in an amount of more than 287 million U.S. dollars. Wade Walters also conspired with others to launder the profits of his fraud conspiracy by engaging in monetary transactions in amounts of more than 10,000 U.S. dollars in returns from the fraud conspiracy, such as transactions associated with his engagement in a fake intellectual property conspiracy.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation – Jackson Field Office probed the matter with support from the IRS-CI (Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation), DCIS (Defense Criminal Investigative Service), and MBN (Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics). Assistant Deputy Chief Katherine E. Payerle, Principal Assistant Deputy Chief Dustin M. Davis, and Trial Attorney Sara E. Porter of the Criminal Division – Fraud Section, Trial Attorneys Steven Brantley and Emily Cohen of the Criminal Division – Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Unit, and the United States Assistant Attorney Kathlyn R. Van Buskirk of Mississippi’s Southern District prosecuted the case.
Violating the Anti-Kickback Act, the False Claim Statute, and the Controlled Substance Act is harshly punished by the law. Also, scheming to commit health care fraud like defrauding taxpayer-funded health care plans, such as Medicaid, TRICARE, or Medicare programs, is a severe crime. Any individual who executes these crimes violates the law and is sternly penalized or fined if found liable for the accusations. When charged with these crimes, you should search for the best legal advice or representation to protect and pursue your rights. Hire our highly qualified team of the finest defense and criminal attorneys if you required highly exceptional legal representation and assistance, which will result in achieving positive results for your issue. Health Care Fraud Group comprises an experienced team of lawyers with tremendous experience in handling Health Care Fraud related issues related to the Federal Health Care System; they are highly knowledgeable about civil and federal matters. The defense attorneys are well recognized across the nation due to their excellent and remarkable work and professionalism when dealing with health care fraud matters and investigations. Our attorneys are well-equipped with past knowledge of each aspect of Health Care fraud defense, medical, and legal issues.
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