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The final two members of a massive conspiracy to bilk TRICARE, the military’s healthcare program, out of more than $65 million have been sentenced in federal court.

Former U.S. Marine Joshua Morgan and former U.S. Navy Sailor Kyle Adams were sentenced to 21 months and 15 months, respectively, and ordered to pay millions in restitution and forfeit the fruits of their criminal activity.

Morgan and Adams have admitted that they recruited fellow servicemembers and their dependents to receive expensive prescription compounded drugs, while others in the conspiracy wrote bogus prescriptions and filled out duplicitous paperwork to process fraudulent insurance reimbursements, resulting in at least $65 million in losses to TRICARE.

Both the defendants were working for Jimmy and Ashley Collins, a married couple living in Birchwood, Tennessee, who quarterbacked the scheme. Jimmy Collins received a 10-year prison sentence; Ashley Collins was sentenced to 18 months in home confinement. To account for all the fraud, the couple was ordered to pay $65,679,512.71 in restitution to Defense Health Agency and TRICARE. Other patient recruiters, including Daniel Castro, Jeremy Syto and Bradley White were previously sentenced to custody.

According to plea agreements, the servicemembers that Morgan and Adams recruited agreed to receive the pricey compounded medications in return for a monthly kickback of approximately $300. For young Sailors and Marines-turned-straw-beneficiaries, this money was equivalent to a significant portion of their monthly paycheck. Morgan noted that “it took very little work to sign people up to receive free money.”

For recruiting bogus patients, defendants Morgan and Adams were paid an illegal kickback of between 3 and 7 percent of the total TRICARE reimbursement paid to the pharmacy for the drugs sent to their recruits. By the time this fraud scheme was in full swing, the average cost for these compounded drugs was over $13,000 for a 30-day supply, peaking at around $25,000 for individual drugs.

Over the course of the conspiracy, those illegal kickbacks amounted to at least $2,633,942.69 for Morgan, which, in recognition of his role as the top-level recruiter in this multi-level marketing scheme, was more than twice as much as the next nearest patient recruiter. Meanwhile, Adams earned more than $1 million for his efforts.

To fund these kickbacks, based on false pretenses and representations, TRICARE paid at least $11,490,654.00 in insurance reimbursements for compounded medications prescribed to straw beneficiaries directly recruited by defendant Adams. During the same period, TRICARE paid at least $4,418,709 for compounded medications prescribed to straw beneficiaries directly recruited by defendant Morgan, although that amount underrepresents the severity of his criminal conduct due to his role as a top-level recruiter responsible in part for the losses to TRICARE caused by various sub-recruiters.

The doctors, Carl Lindblad and Susan Vergot, and a nurse practitioner, Candace Craven, who wrote the fraudulent prescriptions and filled out other duplicitous paperwork, were previously sentenced.  The pharmacy that filled the fraudulent prescriptions, CFK, Inc., also previously pleaded guilty.

According to the pleadings, the sharp increase in the number of bogus prescriptions for compounded drugs was the result of multiple fraud schemes, including this one, that popped up around the country.  As a result, the TRICARE program faced a $2 billion explosion in liability for compounded prescription drugs.

During the course of the investigation, authorities seized numerous items and properties purchased by the Collinses and others with the proceeds of the fraud, including an 82-foot yacht; multiple luxury vehicles, including two Aston Martins; a multimillion-dollar investment annuity; gold and silver bars; cashier’s checks; dozens of pieces of farm equipment and tractor-trailers; and three pieces of Tennessee real estate.

“NCIS will not stand by as individuals shamelessly attempt to disrupt the lives of those who have and continue to serve our country, and steal from what they rightfully earned,” said Director Omar Lopez, Naval Criminal Investigative Service. “This case highlights NCIS’ investigative capabilities and our commitment to collaborate with our law enforcement partners in detecting and dismantling these criminal acts of fraud.”

“Today’s sentencing demonstrates the Defense Criminal Investigative Service’s (DCIS) unwavering commitment to hold accountable those individuals who commit TRICARE fraud and imperil our military healthcare system,” said Kelly Mayo, Director DCIS.  “The outstanding work of the investigative team ensured the perpetrators were held criminally accountable.  I want to thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service for their continuing dedication to the pursuit of justice.”