3 Mississippi men tied to $515 million health care fraud scheme sentenced

Published 10:18 am Saturday, March 27, 2021

A federal judge has sentenced three Mississippi men who had ties to a more than $515 million in health care fraud involving high-priced compounded pain creams.

The Hattiesburg American reported that Ocean Springs businessmen Dempsey “Bryan” Levi, 51, and Jeffrey Rollins, 44, pleaded guilty in October to conspiracy to commit health care fraud. U.S. District Judge Keith Starrett on Wednesday sentenced Levi and Rollins to seven years in prison and ordered each to make restitution of more than $16.3 million. They were taken into custody immediately after the sentencing hearings.

Charles “Chandler” Smith, 43, of Hattiesburg, pleaded guilty in December to filing a false tax report in which he claimed he earned only $143,070 from his business, Lil Mad Consulting, but later admitted he claimed more than $1.3 million as a business expense when it should have been listed as income.

Smith is not believed to have had an active role in the fraud but had worked with many of the scheme’s conspirators, the newspaper reported. Starrett sentenced him to five years of probation and ordered him to pay about $545,000 in restitution.

Rollins and Levi apologized for their roles in the scheme and asked Starrett for mercy. The judge told both men they received lesser sentences because they pleaded guilty to their crimes.

“I was impressed by the speed with which you took responsibility,” Starrett said. “You have a lot of support from a lot of good people.”

Levi and Rollins pleaded guilty to their roles in an $18 million fraud in which they promoted the expensive medications that were meant to be formulated for individuals but were prescribed using preprinted prescription pads to mass-produce the drugs through the Gardens Pharmacy in Ocean Springs and promote the products packaged by Alvix Laboratories.

At least 20 people have pleaded guilty or were convicted at trial in a scheme that involved billing TRICARE and other health care benefits providers for reimbursements for the prescriptions, which often were issued by doctors and nurse practitioners without ever seeing the patients. Four people are set for trial this summer. It is unclear whether others have been or will be charged.