Ex-Mississippi pharmacist gets 10 years in federal prison for part in pain cream scheme

Published 9:03 pm Tuesday, February 2, 2021

A former Mississippi pharmacist was sentenced Tuesday to 10 years in prison for his role in a massive health care fraud involving pain cream and other medications.

Marco Moran also was ordered to forfeit nearly $12.2 million in cash and pay restitution of around $22.1 million and a fine of $20,000, the Hattiesburg American reported.

Moran, 47, was charged in September 2018 to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. He pleaded guilty the same day.

During his sentencing hearing Tuesday in federal district court in Hattiesburg, Moran apologized to the judge, the government, his children and a grandchild.

“This is not in my character,” Moran said. “I’ve learned my lesson in this.”

The scheme, which began in Mississippi, has defrauded TRICARE and other health care benefits providers of more than $1.5 billion nationwide, the government contends. At least 25 people have been charged, and 20 of them have been convicted at trial or pleaded guilty.

U.S. Senior Judge Keith Starrett said in court Tuesday that Moran, like the others in the case, was a good person until he got “caught up in this greed, this evil.”

“I’ve seen a lot of shows in my career as a judge and seen a lot of very sad cases through the years,” Starrett said. “The sad thing is the tremendous ability and potential you have for good. This involved so many people, so many lives ruined, so many careers lost.”

According to court documents, Moran and co-conspirators Wade Walters, Tommy Spell and Silas Richmond, “formed, owned and operated Medworx,” a pharmacy in Ridgeland, which mass-produced what should have been medications tailored for individuals.

Moran also was owner of Custom Care Pharmacy in Clinton, another location that was used in the fraud.