BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – A federal grand jury returned an eight-count indictment April 27 charging a Mississippi man with wire fraud and health care fraud and with conspiracy to commit wire and health care fraud, announced U.S. Attorney Prim F. Escalona and Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, Special Agent in Charge Derrick Jackson.
According to the indictment, in October 2016, Phillip Anthony Minga, 55, of Amory was excluded from providing services to Medicare participants. Minga also signed an agreement which provided that Medicare would not pay claims submitted by anyone who employed Minga in a management or administrative role.
The indictment charges, however, that Minga and others concealed his ownership interests and managerial roles in multiple pharmacies and caused the submission of millions of dollars in claims for reimbursement to Medicare, in violation of his exclusion agreement.
If convicted, Minga faces a maximum of 20 years in prison for wire fraud and 10 years in prison for health care fraud and a $250,000 fine.
The Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General investigated the case along with the State of Mississippi’s Office of the Attorney General and the State of Alabama’s State Board of Pharmacy. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lloyd Peeples and Don Long are prosecuting the case.
An indictment contains only charges. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
In late February, a $43,331,950.55 settlement was reached in the case of Roche Diagnostic Corporation and Roche Diabetes Care, Inc. versus Priority Healthcare Corporation, which is Minga’s company. Priority Care operates mainly in Alabama and Mississippi.
The civil case was heard in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama’s Southern District. Roche was represented by Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP.
Roche alleged Priority Care submitted fraudulent bills to insurance companies for its brand of test strips that were either never shipped to diabetes patients or priced higher. Roche claimed to have paid out $37.5 million worth of unwarranted rebates to insurance companies for test strips during a five-year period.
According to the original court filing, Roche stated 779,000 50-count boxes of its retail test strips were submitted from Jan. 1, 2013 to the first quarter of 2018.
Through February ruling, Priority Care cannot dispense, sell, distribute, purchase or adjudicate Roche Accu-Check test strips.
Managing editor Ray Van Dusen contributed to this story.