Man pleads guilty in pharmacy fraud scheme

Updated: Feb. 26, 2019 at 12:27 PM CST
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HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Howard Randall Thomley pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud Tuesday in federal court. Back in June, Thomley initially pleaded not guilty during their June arraignment along with his wife--- Hope Thomley. Randy Thomley was indicted on 26 counts and Hope was indicted on 23 counts.

Randy Thomley, 60, was accused of taking part in a fraud to defraud healthcare providers out of more than $200 million. Prosecutors charged that “pharmacy owners bribed healthcare providers to prescribe hand-crafted, high-dollar medications, that in many cases, were unnecessary.” During his guilty plea, Randy Thomley admitted that he conspired with others to defraud TRICARE, which is a federally funded health care benefit program that serves the U.S. military and their families.

U.S. District Judge Keith Starrett will sentence Randy Thomley on July 2. He faces a maximum of 10 years in federal prison.

The Thomleys were associated with Advantage Pharmacy, which prosecutors allege was at the center of a plot that recruited dentists, physicians, nurse practitioners and others into writing bogus prescriptions. Many of the prescriptions were for “compounded medications,” with some running upwards of $10,000.

TRICARE paid approximately $3.6 million in reimbursements for the medications.

“This nefarious and complex health care fraud scheme was one of the largest in Mississippi’s history, and possibly one of the largest in our nation’s history,” said Special Agent in Charge Christopher Freeze. “Billions of taxpayer dollars are lost to heath care fraud each year, and conspiracies against TRICARE strip benefits directly from our military’s brave men and women and their families. This guilty plea brings this case one step closer to justice and shows the unwavering commitment, of all of the partnering agencies, to uncover, investigate and prosecute dishonest and unethical physicians, health care providers and any others associated with America’s health care system. The collective resources of law enforcement at all levels will continue to expose these types of corruption and will actively seek justice for those who participate in these schemes.”

Advantage Pharmacy’s former pharmacist Jason May and Advantage Pharmacy former marketer Jay Schaar, of Gulfport, both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud in July 2015. An Alabama nurse also pleaded guilty and a Gulf Coast doctor was found guilty.

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