Pharmacy owner accused of health care fraud

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PENSACOLA, FLORIDA – Andrew E. Fisher, 33, of Gulf Breeze, Florida, was arraigned yesterday in the U.S. District Court in Pensacola after a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging him with conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. The indictment was announced by Lawrence Keefe, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida. The indictment alleges that between October 2014 and December 2015, Fisher, the president and part-owner of Physician Specialty Pharmacy, conspired with others to defraud TRICARE and other insurance companies through more than $4.8 million in fraudulent claims for prescriptions for compounded pain cream, scar cream, and wellness capsules. According to the indictment, Fisher agreed to fill prescriptions at his pharmacy knowing they were not based on legitimate doctor-patient relationships. In exchange, Fisher allegedly paid commissions to the marketing representatives who recruited individuals to receive the compounded drug prescriptions. Fisher, who is not a licensed pharmacist, also allegedly directed his employees to use ingredient formulations for the drugs that would maximize the amount his pharmacy could bill to TRICARE and other companies, without regard to what was medically necessary. Five co-conspirators named in the indictment have previously pleaded guilty in two related cases. Bradley D. Pounds was sentenced to 21 months in prison, and Marie Ann Smith and Heather E. Pounds were sentenced to probation. Michael Scott Burton and Brad T. Hodgson are awaiting sentencing. The maximum penalty for conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud is 20 years imprisonment, and the maximum penalty for conspiracy to commit money laundering is 10 years imprisonment. Fisher’s trial is scheduled for September 3, 2019, at 9:00 a.m. at the United States Courthouse in Pensacola. Assistant United States Attorney Alicia H. Forbes is prosecuting the case following an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Florida Department of Financial Services-Division of Insurance Fraud, Florida Department of Health, Naval Criminal Investigative Service, and Army Criminal Investigative Command. An indictment is merely an allegation by a grand jury that a defendant has committed a violation of federal criminal law and is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial. The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida is one of 94 offices that serve as the nation’s principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General. To access public court documents online, please visit the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida website. For more information about the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Florida, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/fln/index.html.

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