Pharmacist sentenced for $180 million healthcare scheme

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GULF BREEZE, Fla. (WKRG) — A man who currently lives in Gulf Breeze has been convicted for his involvement in a multi-million dollar scheme to defraud TRICARE and private insurance companies.

Mitchell “Chad” Barrett will serve a maximum of 10 years in prison and will have to repay millions of dollars.

Below is the press release from the Department of Justice:

“A former Mississippi pharmacist was sentenced today to 10 years in the Southern District of Mississippi for a multi-million dollar scheme to defraud TRICARE and private insurance companies by paying bribes to distributors for the return of medically unnecessary prescriptions. This conduct resulted in more than $180 million in fraudulent billings, including more than $50 million paid by federal health care programs.

According to court documents, Mitchell “Chad” Barrett, 55, now of Gulf Breeze, Fla., and formerly of Mississippi, participated in a scheme to defraud TRICARE and other health care benefit programs by distributing medically unnecessary compound drugs. Barrett was licensed as a pharmacist in Mississippi and co-owned various compounding pharmacies. Under this program, Barrett has adjusted prescription formulas to ensure the highest reimbursement regardless of medical necessity. He solicited recruiters to obtain prescriptions for high-margin compound drugs and paid these recruiters commissions based on the percentage of reimbursements paid by pharmacy benefit managers and healthcare benefit programs, including commissions on claims reimbursed by TRICARE. He further systematically and systematically waived and/or reduced copayments to be paid by beneficiaries and members, and used a purported copayment assistance program to create the false impression that his pharmacy and his affiliated pharmacies had received co-payments.

Barrett pleaded guilty on August 25, 2021 to conspiracy to engage in criminal property monetary transactions. In addition to the jail sentence, Barrett was ordered to pay restitution and forfeit all assets related to his ill-gotten gains.

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