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Jury convicts man in $54M scheme to defraud military healthcare program

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(The Center Square) — A federal jury convicted a Florida man for his role in a $54 million bribery and kickback scheme involving TRICARE, a federal program that provides health insurance benefits to active duty and retired service members and their families.

David Byron Copeland, 55, of Tallahassee, was a part-owner and senior sales manager for Florida Pharmacy Solutions, a Florida pharmacy that specialized in compounded prescription drugs, according to court documents.

Copeland, along with others, engaged in a practice known as “test billing” to develop the most expensive combination of compounded drugs to maximize reimbursement from TRICARE, prosecutors said.

Copeland and his accomplices targeted doctors who treated TRICARE beneficiaries and paid bribes and kickbacks to physicians and salespeople to encourage the referral of prescriptions to Florida Pharmacy Solutions. The bribes included hunting trips and expensive dinners, prosecutors said.

The jury convicted Copeland of two counts of soliciting and receiving illegal health care kickbacks and three counts of offering and paying illegal health care kickbacks. The jury acquitted Copeland of conspiracy to defraud the United States and to pay and receive illegal health care kickbacks.

The judge set sentencing for Sept. 14. Copeland faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison for each kickback count, prosecutors said.

James Wesley Moss, the former chief executive officer of Florida Pharmacy Solutions, and Michael Gordon, a former Florida Pharmacy Solutions sales representative, previously pleaded guilty. Both are awaiting sentencing.

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