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Case Number: 3:23-cr-00083
Judge: Joseph F. Anderson
Court: United States District Court for the District of South Carolina (Richland County)
Plaintiff's Attorney: United States Attorney’s Office in Columbia
Defendant's Attorney: Cameron Blazer
Description: Columbia, South Carolina criminal defense lawyer represented Defendant charged with health care fraud.
Travis Anthony Mason, age 52, of Aiken, South Carolina, through his company M3 Medical LLC, was involved in the marketing and sale of prescription compounded medications, which included various pain creams. Compounded medications are specialty medications mixed by a pharmacist to meet the specific medical needs of an individual patient. Although compounded drugs are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), they are properly prescribed when a physician determines that an FDA-approved medication does not meet the health needs of a particular patient because, for example, the patient is allergic to a dye or other ingredient or requires the medication in a different form.
Mason and his coconspirators would target individuals with federally funded health insurance plans, including TRICARE, that provided benefits for the compounded prescriptions. They would obtain prescriptions for compounded medications, many of which were medically unnecessary, from a physician. They would then direct that these prescriptions be filled by specific compounding pharmacies.
Mason and his coconspirators knew that the compounded medication would yield a high reimbursement. For every compounded prescription that was filled, Mason was paid a percentage of the reimbursement amount. Over two years, Mason and his coconspirators caused $1,966,194.00 in loss to TRICARE.
“Fraud of healthcare programs steals resources from people who need care and, in this case, from men and women who have bravely served our nation,” said U.S. Attorney Adair F. Boroughs. “We appreciate the hard work of our agency partners in the investigation of this scheme, and we stand ready to prosecute those who steal from government programs to enrich themselves.”
“Travis Mason thought TRICARE and other Federal healthcare programs were easy targets for fraud; he was sorely mistaken,” said Special Agent in Charge Christopher Dillard, Department of Defense Office of Inspector General, Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS), Mid-Atlantic Field Office. “Nationwide fraud schemes like this degrade our healthcare system. They also put the public and the military at risk. DCIS stands resolute with its Federal law enforcement partners to disrupt, dismantle, and prosecute perpetrators of these schemes.”
"Mason’s criminal acts jeopardized the health and well-being of unsuspecting victims, many of whom have served or continue to serve our country in the military,” Steve Jensen, Special Agent in Charge of the Columbia Field Office said. “Healthcare fraud remains a top priority for the FBI to investigate. We, along with our law enforcement partners, will take every measure available to unravel such schemes and bring perpetrators to justice."
United States District Judge Joseph F. Anderson sentenced Mason to 31 months in federal prison, to be followed by a three-year term of court-ordered supervision. There is no parole in the federal system. The court also ordered him to pay the restitution in the amount of $1,966,194.00.
The case was investigated by the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General, Defense Criminal Investigative Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Amy F. Bower prosecuted the case.
18 U.S.C. 1347 provides:
(a) Whoever knowingly and willfully executes, or attempts to execute, a scheme or artifice—
(1) to defraud any health care benefit program; or
(2) to obtain, by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, any of the money or property owned by, or under the custody or control of, any health care benefit program,
in connection with the delivery of or payment for health care benefits, items, or services, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both. If the violation results in serious bodily injury (as defined in section 1365 of this title), such person shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both; and if the violation results in death, such person shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both.
(b) With respect to violations of this section, a person need not have actual knowledge of this section or specific intent to commit a violation of this section.
Outcome: Defendant committed to the custody of the BOP to be imprisoned for a total term of Thirty-Three (33) months. Upon release from imprisonment, defendant shall be on supervised release for a term of Three (3) years. Defendant must comply with the mandatory, standard, and special conditions. Special assessment of $100.00 and restitution of $1,966,194.00 due immediately. Defendant remains on bond pending designation from the BOP.