They recruited patients and prescribed unneeded specialty medications that were much more expensive than mass-produced prescription medications. And then they charged the patients' insurance policies for the pricier prescriptions.
Ten Florida residents now face federal charges for their involvement in a massive nationwide prescription medication telemedicine scheme that ran in Broward County from January 2014 to October 2016, according to the Department of Justice. A woman who now lives in Boston but lived in Florida then was also charged.
The fraud targeted private insurance companies and Tricare, a healthcare program of the U.S. Department of Defense, which provides coverage for active duty members of the military, veterans, retirees and their families.
Facing the conspiracy charges are:
Mark L. Vollaro, 38, of Boynton Beach,
Anthony J. Loveland, 43, of Boynton Beach,
Luis Garcia, 30, of Boca Raton,
Robert C. Clark, 54, of Boca Raton,
Jason T. Faley, 39, of Deerfield Beach,
Joseph A. Cavallo, 42, of Cooper City,
James D. Engimann, 37, of Lake Worth,
Benjamin C. Heath, 37, of Boca Raton,
Antonio J. Gousgounis, 34, of Boca Raton,
Christopher Margait, 43, of West Palm Beach,
Margaret Chiasson, 32, of Boston (but formerly of Pompano Beach).
The conspiracy went on for more than two years and involved lying to and defrauding numerous health insurance providers to get them to pay the higher costs of the ingredients for such medications, according to court records.
The prescription fraud also involved telemarketing call centers and mass marketing techniques to lie to and solicit potential patients, prosecutors said. Physicians also were illegally provided with partially completed, pre-printed “prescription pads” to make it easier to prepare the false prescriptions, according to court documents.
Several of the defendants are also charged with money laundering crimes stemming from how they handled the proceeds from the scheme, according to the justice department.
All 10 appeared Wednesday in federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Patrick Hunt in Fort Lauderdale. Margaret Chiasson, who goes by Meganne Chiasson, according to court records, appeared before Magistrate Judge Marianne B. Bowler in the District of Massachusetts.
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