Sentencing postponed for four convicted in $7M pain cream fraud

Published 10:44 am Thursday, April 2, 2020

Four people awaiting sentencing in a health care fraud scheme have had their hearings postponed indefinitely because of the coronavirus.

Dr. Shahjahan Sultan of Madison; Dr. Thomas Edward Sturdavant of Kingsport, Tennessee; Freda Cal Covington of Hattiesburg and Fallon Deenem Page of Soso each face up to ten years in prison for a scheme involving pain creams and weight loss pills that bilked insurers out of more than $7 million, the Hattiesburg American reported. They had been scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday.

Sultan and Sturdavant pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy to commit health care fraud. Prosecutors said the two wrote bogus prescriptions, and Covington and Page were nurses who recruited patients.

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Sultan had contracted with a pharmacy and agreed to prescribe expensive compound medications in exchange for 35% of the reimbursements the pharmacy received for the prescriptions, prosecutors said.

In addition to possible prison time, the four defendants also face up to $250,000 in fines plus restitution.

All nonessential civil and criminal hearings or trials for the Southern District of Mississippi were postponed as of a court order issued March 13, because of the coronavirus pandemic.