A federal jury sitting in Houston, Texas, found a pharmacist guilty Tuesday of charges related to health care fraud, wire fraud and money laundering.
After a six-day trial, George Phillip Tompkins, 75, of Houston, Texas, was convicted on all charges - one count each of conspiracy to pay and receive kickbacks, conspiracy to commit health care fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering as well as 11 counts of health care fraud and three counts of wire fraud.
According to evidence presented at trial, Tompkins and others billed the federal government approximately $21.8 million for medically unnecessary compound gels and creams that were predicated on illegal kickback payments. The jury heard that Tompkins and Anoop Chaturvedi, 48, a legal permanent resident from India, created a scheme to generate compounded pain cream prescriptions and bill health care programs for injured state and federal employees. As part of the scheme, Tompkins and Chaturvedi created a separate entity - Wellington Advisors - to receive the program money from the Department of Labor (DOL) - Office of Workers Compensation Programs and Federal Employees Compensation Act.
Evidence introduced at trial showed that Tompkins sought to disguise illicit kickback payments as legitimate “marketing” expenses and continued to ship patients compound gels and creams even after patients repeatedly complained they did not want them.
U.S. District Judge Sim Lake of the Southern District of Texas presided over the trial and set sentencing for May 27.
Tompkins’ wife Marene Kathryn Tompkins, 68, of Houston, pleaded guilty in January 2020 to one count of conspiracy to pay kickbacks and is also awaiting sentencing. Chaturvedi is considered a fugitive and a warrant remains outstanding for his arrest in connection with the charges. Anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to contact the U.S. Postal Service - Office of Inspector General (OIG) at 1-888-877-7644. He is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.
USPS – (OIG), DOL – OIG, IRS-Criminal Investigation, Department of Homeland Security – OIG and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs – OIG conducted the investigation. Trial Attorneys Andrew Pennebaker and Sara Clingan of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Julie Redlinger are prosecuting the case.
The Fraud Section leads the Medicare Fraud Strike Force. Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, which maintains 15 strike forces operating in 24 districts, has charged more than 4,200 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for nearly $19 billion. In addition, the Health and Human Services (HHS) Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.