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In February 2021, a strategically coordinated, six-week nationwide federal law enforcement action announced it has resulted in criminal charges against 138 defendants, including 42 doctors, nurses, and other licensed medical professionals, in 31 federal districts across the United States for their alleged participation in various health care fraud schemes that resulted in approximately $1.4 billion in alleged losses.

Two of these 138 defendants were prosecuted in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. Charles Ronald Green Jr. and his wife, Melinda Elizabeth Green, were sentenced to 27 months each for fraudulently billing government healthcare programs more than $125 million for medically unnecessary treatments.

According to court filings, the Greens engaged in a scheme to defraud two major federal health care programs: TRICARE, the medical benefits program for military servicemembers and their families, and Medicare, the program that provides benefits to elderly or disabled Americans.

Chief U.S. District Judge Dana M. Sabraw also ordered $4.5 million in restitution to TRICARE and $69,915,909.69 to Medicare.

Between May 12, 2014, and June 29, 2015, the Greens conspired to submit false and fraudulent claims to TRICARE for expensive and medically unnecessary pain creams, scar creams and multi-vitamins, which were billed through various pharmacies. During this period, the Greens owned or were officers of several companies they used in furtherance of their scheme. The pharmacies paid these companies millions of dollars in illegal kickbacks and other remuneration in exchange for the referral of the false and fraudulent prescriptions for compounded medications to TRICARE beneficiaries.

In turn, the Greens and others paid a portion of their profits as kickbacks to so-called “marketing” organizations in exchange for more prescriptions for compounded medications. TRICARE and other payers often reimbursed compounding pharmacies thousands of dollars for a 30-day supply of a compounded pain or scar cream for one beneficiary. In just one example, on May 8, 2015, a false and fraudulent claim was submitted to TRICARE in the amount of $14,178 for Baclofen Powder.

In furtherance of the compounding fraud scheme, the Greens and others developed compounded medication formulations for the primary purpose of inflating the amount of money TRICARE would reimburse, and to correspondingly increase the amount of kickbacks and remuneration that affiliated marketers would receive.

The Greens’ knowing participation in the compounding fraud scheme resulted in the submission of false and fraudulent claims by one pharmacy in the approximate amount of $8,107,816, of which TRICARE paid at least $6,776,222.

Between June 1, 2018, and April 2019, the Greens also conspired to defraud Medicare by submitting false and fraudulent claims for expensive durable medical equipment, or “DME,” similarly induced through a system of illegal kickbacks.  The Greens and others executed the DME fraud scheme by purchasing “completed doctors’ orders” from various “marketers” for Medicare beneficiaries, which included a prescription signed by a doctor certifying the beneficiary received an exam that met Medicare’s requirements and that the DME was medically necessary.

In an attempt to disguise the DME fraud scheme from detection, the Greens and their co-conspirators entered into sham “marketing” and other contracts that concealed the pay-per-order arrangement. For example, on March 14, 2019, Charles Ronald Green prepared and submitted an invoice from the Greens’ company, NHS Pharma, concealing that NHS Pharma was being paid a per-brace kickback for selling completed doctors’ orders, but claimed instead to be charging for a $35,000 “TV Campaign,” a quantity of 716 website “Landing Pages,” and $6,928.71 for processing hours.

In addition to purchasing doctors’ orders in furtherance of making false and fraudulent claims on behalf of DME companies they owned or controlled, in some instances the Greens brokered the doctors’ orders by re-selling them at a markup to other DME companies.

The Court set a hearing for May 24, 2024, to resolve additional claims for restitution.