Ocean Springs pharmacy owners accused in $18 million healthcare fraud scheme

Two of the pharmacy’s owners are charged with conspiracy and attempting to defraud the government.
Around 25 agents helped execute the federal search warrant at Lovelace Drug's.
Around 25 agents helped execute the federal search warrant at Lovelace Drug's.(Photo source: WLOX)
Updated: Oct. 7, 2020 at 12:19 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Recently unsealed court documents are revealing more about federal charges involving two owners of an Ocean Springs pharmacy.

The alleged $18 million healthcare fraud scheme is centered around the old Lovelace Drugs, which is now Gardens Pharmacy.

Dempsey “Bryan” Levi and Jeffrey Rollins, who jointly own Gardens Pharmacy, are named in the criminal complaint, along with other co-conspirators, including Clark Levi, the late brother of Bryan Levi who died in a car accident in 2019.

Court documents unsealed this week in the Southern U.S. District Court accused the pharmacy owners of taking part in an elaborate five-year scheme involving expensive compounded pain creams.

According to the complaint, Rollins and Bryan Levi would pay bribes and offer kickbacks to physicians in exchange for the doctors ordering and recommending pricey compound creams. Those prescriptions would then be filled only by Gardens Pharmacy, leaving patients with no choice on which pharmacy they wanted to use.

The feds say to get the most reimbursements from Medicare, Tricare and other health insurance companies, Gardens Pharmacy created these medicated creams using ingredients based on how much profit could be made and not on the actual needs of a patient.

In some instances, the pharmacy even dispensed cheaper, generic products, but billed for the more expensive brands. The pharmacy would then submit fraudulent bills to insurance companies.

According to court documents, the scheme involved several other businesses that helped Levi and Rollins. Those businesses stretched as far away as Michigan and Virginia, where two unnamed businesses allegedly recruited more practitioners to write prescriptions for the compound medications to be dispensed by Gardens Pharmacy.

This week, Levi and Rollins both pleaded not guilty to federal charges alleging conspiracy and attempt to defraud the government. Their trials are set for December 7. If convicted, they each face up to 10 years in prison.

Copyright 2020 WLOX. All rights reserved.