The U.S. government is seeking forfeiture of four properties it says were purchased from money-laundering proceeds reportedly perpetrated by a local couple alleged to have operated out of a …
The U.S. government is seeking forfeiture of four properties it says were purchased from money-laundering proceeds reportedly perpetrated by a local couple alleged to have operated out of a Cleveland medical center.
Acting U.S. Attorney Alana W. Robinson, based in San Diego, has identified the pair as Jimmy and Ashley Collins, who owned and operated Choice MD at 3852 Candies Creek Ridge Road.
The case filed by federal prosecutors claims the couple paid two emergency room doctors and a nurse practitioner to write 3,759 prescriptions for compounded medications for Tricare beneficiaries located mainly in the Southern District of California. Many of those beneficiaries were, reportedly, U.S. Marines.
Kristina Davis, a reporter with the San Diego Union-Tribune who broke the story, said in an article published last Friday that in 2013, some 218 compounded prescriptions for Tricare patients were filled, with that number rising to 541 in 2014.
In the first four months of 2015, those numbers rose to 4,637, eliciting $67.3 million in reimbursement claims, according to the affidavit filed in the U.S. Court in San Diego.
The complaint alleged that some of those Marines served as recruiters for Tricare on behalf of Choice MD.
The two emergency-room physicians and RN were not named in the complaint; only their initials were included.
According to the federal complaint, each was paid to write the prescriptions between December 2014 and May 2015.
The compounded prescriptions for Tricare were filled by The Medical Shoppe in Bountiful, Utah, and shipped from Utah to California, the complaint reads.
It also alleges that no one at Choice MD treated or examined the Tricare beneficiaries before prescribing them the compounded medications, and that Choice MD did not bill Tricare for medical examinations or other services “as is customary when providing legitimate services to insured patients.”
There was no indication of any relationship between The Medicine Shoppe in Utah and the pharmacy using the same name in Cleveland.
According to the complaint, The Medicine Shoppe in Utah submitted claims to Tricare for filling the compound prescriptions written by doctors employed by Choice MD and “was paid a total of $62,589,666 based on these claims,” and “between September 2014 and May 2015, a total of approximately $45,369,567.87 was transferred to (Jimmy) Collins and (Ashley) Collins from bank accounts associated with two companies controlled by the owners of The Medicine Shoppe, CD Medical Inc., and Medworx Compounding, LLC.”
According to the government’s case, the Collinses reportedly used many of these monies to purchase the four properties the U.S. is attempting to have forfeited.
One of those properties is located in Cleveland: at 2520, 2522, 2424, and 2538 Keith St. N.W., with one of the lots being identified as Colony Square.
The other locations include property on Grasshopper Road in Birchwood, property at Baker Lane and Blythe Ferry Lane in Birchwood, and property on Blythe Ferry Lane, also in Birchwood.
A decision was granted Aug. 3, by U.S. District Judge Janis L. Sammartino to dismiss the forfeiture claim on the property on Grasshopper Road. The judge’s decision does not indicate whether the government’s request for forfeiture included the other properties, but it did indicate that any opposition to the decision would have to be included in an amended complaint at least 14 days from the date on the order for dismissal, which the federal government did in the amended complaint filed Aug. 17.
The amended complaint, while stating the properties are subject to forfeiture pursuant to Title 18 of the U.S. Code, states the government “does not request authority from the court to seize the defendant’s property at this time,” but rather “post notice of the complaint on the defendant’s properties,” “serve notice of this action,” and “let the county records show that action.”
“The United States will at an appropriate time execute a writ of entry for the purpose of conducting an inspection and inventory of the property,” the amended complaint states.
No charges have been placed against anyone named in the complaint.
Attempts by the Cleveland Daily Banner to contact Wade Vance Davies, a Knoxville attorney listed in court records as the legal counsel for Ashley Collins, were unsuccessful. Although a message was left with a member of the office staff, Davies had not responded by press deadlines.
Earlier today, 10th District Attorney General Steve Crump told the Banner because the case is of a federal nature, his office has not been involved in the matter.
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