Florida man pleads guilty in drug fraud case; Troy woman faces trial

Published 11:17 am Tuesday, May 12, 2020

A Florida man has pleaded guilty in the prescription drug-billing scheme that fraudulently charged health insurers over $200 million, and a Troy woman will stand trial in June on related charges.

John Jeremy Adams of Panama City Beach pleaded guilty Monday to 16 counts of health care fraud, seven counts of spending the proceeds of health care fraud, one count of conspiring to commit fraud and one count of conspiring to pay kickbacks, according to the US Attorney for Northern Alabama. A Troy resident faces a June 29 trial in the same case.

Adams, 39, was the former co-owner and chief executive officer of Northside Pharmacy in Haleyville, Alabama. Authorities said the pharmacy, which did business as Global Compounding Pharmacy, was the center of a long-term fraud investigation that lead to the arrest 10 people, including Adams, on 103 counts of fraud. To date, 23 individuals have pleaded guilty including two nurse practitioners, the COO, a vice president of sales, an operations manager, a district manager and multiple sales representatives.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Trial against the four remaining defendants is set for June 29. They include:

  • James A. Mays, III, 44 of Winfield, a pharmacist, charged in 20 counts;
  • Jessica Linton, 37 of Clearwater, Florida, the manager of the billing team at Global, charged in 24 counts;
  • Lisa Holmes, 41 of Troy, a district manager supervising sales representatives at Global, charged in 12 counts; and
  • John Gladden, 50, of Tallahassee, Florida, a district manager supervising sales representatives at Global, charged in nine counts.

These defendants committed a reprehensible federal crime when they chose to steal funds designated to care for the sick,” United States Attorney Jay Town said.  “Especially in this day and time where our health care system has the potential to be overwhelmed, we can ill afford to allow the wellness of many to be sacrificed by the greed of a few.  I want to thank our partner agencies for their continued efforts to put a stop to health care fraud.  We will continue to stand with them to not only uncover these frauds . .but see them prosecuted in a federal courtroom.”

According to the plea agreement, Adams told employees to get medically unnecessary drugs for themselves and family members. He paid prescribers to issue prescriptions and also told employees to add non-prescribed drugs to prescriptions, automatically refill prescriptions regardless of patients’ needs, waive and discount co-pays, and to bill healthcare providers for drugs without patients’ knowledge.

.  The scheme targeted multiple health insurance plans, including the pharmacy’s Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama plan, as well as plans providing health insurance to the elderly, disabled, members of the military, and veterans—Medicare, TRICARE, and CHAMPVA, among others.

According to the plea agreement, Mr. Adams as directed the scheme and also joked about it. It describes a text exchange between him and another defendant in which they discuss altering prescriptions.  She tells him she will be getting him white out as a birthday gift, and he responds “Yep.  Made us money.”

Adams and the other defendants billed health insurance providers over $200 million and were paid over $50 million, according to a Department of Justice press release from May 2019.

The Associated Press contributed to this report