Hundreds of people – several with Tampa Bay connections – are being charged following statewide healthcare fraud.
More than 300 people – more than 100 are doctors, nurses, and other licensed health professionals – are charged with “the largest healthcare fraud and opioid enforcement move” in DOJ history.
According to the DOJ, the 345 suspects are charged with filing fraudulent claims totaling more than $ 6 billion with government health programs and private insurers.
These fake claims were linked to the following:
- $ 4.5 billion related to telemedicine
- $ 845 million related to substance abuse treatment facilities or empty home facilities
- $ 806 million related to other healthcare fraud and illegal opioid distribution programs across the country
The following are some of the suspects with ties to Tampa Bay:
- Michael NolanThe 47-year-old from Tampa pleaded guilty on July 31st to a conspiracy to commit a healthcare fraud for fraud against Medicare by making medically unnecessary claims for DME and cancer genetic testing.
- Samuel FriedmanThe 45-year-old from Land O’Lake was sentenced to four years in prison on September 4th for conspiracy.
- Christopher Ryan HelfrichThe 30-year-old from Tampa was charged with health-care fraud conspiracy in September.
- Hong TruongThe 60 year old from Dunedin pleaded guilty to distributing and dispensing a controlled substance outside the scope of professional practice.
- Jessica EvansThe 34-year-old from St. Petersburg pleaded guilty to “playing her role in filling out illegal opiate prescriptions,” according to the DOJ.
- Lucretia MullanThe 35-year-old from St. Petersburg has been charged with filling out fake prescriptions at HP Pharmacy.
- Patrice JacksonBradenton, 37, has been charged with filling out fake prescriptions at HP Pharmacy.
- Steven ChunThe 57-year-old from Sarasota was charged on September 16 on 16 point indictments.
- Daniel TondreThe 50-year-old from Tampa was charged on September 16 on 16-point indictment.
The DOJ’s announcement on Wednesday comes just over a week after I-Team investigator Kylie McGivern first reported on Chun and Tondre’s arrests.
According to federal investigators, Chun owned and operated a pain management practice in Sarasota where he prescribed Subsys, an addictive and expensive fentanyl spray, to his patients in exchange for the setbacks paid by manufacturer Insys Therapeudics. Tondre, Chun’s sales representative, is accused of paying more than $ 275,000 in setbacks to Chun in the form of “bogus speaker fees and other perks in return for Chun prescribing increasing amounts of Subsys,” the said DOJ in a press release.
McGivern spoke to the Inspector General’s Office of Health and Human Services here in Tampa. He says the Tampa Bay area has played a major role in these healthcare fraud cases.
“It’s really huge. You’re going to stress how important this is. More than a billion dollars in Tampa Bay when you look at the fraud that has been going on over the past few years,” said Ryan Lynch, Bureau of Health and Human Services of the General Inspector.
Anyone with information about these fraud cases can Click here Submit tips or complaints.