Mississippi pharmacist among two to admit role in $180 million health insurance fraud scheme

Published 9:04 pm Wednesday, August 25, 2021

A Mississippi pharmacist and a Louisiana marketer have pleaded guilty in connection with a multi-million dollar health insurance fraud scheme, federal authorities said Wednesday.

A news release from the Justice Department said Mitchell “Chad” Barrett, 54, a former Mississippi resident now living in Gulf Breeze, Florida, pleaded guilty Wednesday; and 57-year-old Thomas Wilburn Shoemaker of Rayville, Louisiana, pleaded guilty Aug. 12. Records show the pleas were entered in federal court in Mississippi.

Prosecutors said Barrett, a pharmacist, participated in a scheme to distribute medically unnecessary medications, while Shoemaker acted as a marketer for Barrett’s pharmacies. Prosecutors said the scheme resulted in more than $180 million in fraudulent billings. Victims included military and private insurance companies.

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The release said Barrett pleaded guilty to conspiracy to engage in monetary transactions in criminally derived property and faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

Shoemaker pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States and solicit, receive, offer, and pay illegal kickbacks. He could be sentenced to as much as five years in prison.

They also will have to pay restitution.