After being convicted on numerous counts of fraud in a five-day trial earlier this year, Dr. Albert Diaz has been sentenced to three years in prison for his role in a multi-million million fraud scheme.
Diaz, a Biloxi physician, was accused of participating in a scheme to defraud TRICARE and other insurance companies by prescribing medically unnecessary compounded medications to individuals he had not examined. A news release from U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst stated a Hattiesburg Pharmacy would then dispense the medication and sought reimbursement to the tune of $3 million.
“The evidence further demonstrated that, based on the prescriptions signed by Diaz, Advantage Pharmacy in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, dispensed these medically unnecessary compounded medications and sought and received reimbursement from TRICARE and other insurance companies totaling more than $3 million.”
During the trial, evidence also showed that Diaz falsified patient records to make it appear as though he had examined patients before prescribing the medications in response to a TRICARE audit. In a letter which was read aloud in court and then published by the Sun Herald, Diaz continued to claim innocence and, he says that he never knew about the scheme.
“As a result of my writing a small handful of prescriptions, I am truly sorry. However, I never obtained any knowledge about a potential plan to defraud the government and believe that I was taken advantage of. The word ‘intention’ can be defined as, ‘A plan for action, composed of beliefs and desires.’ As stated earlier, my belief and desire was that I was helping those patients in need as I have demonstrated the past 45 years of being a physician.” – Dr. Diaz.
According the Hurst, Diaz’s list of charges included one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud, four counts of wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to distribute and dispense a controlled substance, four counts of distributing and dispensing a controlled substance, one count of conspiracy to falsify records in a federal investigation and five counts of falsification of records.
Restitution to TRICARE and other insurance companies will be determined at a later date.
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