Former Janesville Pharmacy Owner Sentenced for Health Care Fraud

Friday, September 1, 2017

Madison, Wis. – Jeffrey M. Anderson, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Mark Johnson, 55, Janesville, Wis., was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge James Peterson to 24 months in federal prison for health care fraud.  Johnson will begin serving his sentence in October.

On August 4, 2016, Johnson’s arrest was announced in conjunction with the unsealing of a 46-count indictment returned by the grand jury, charging him with health care fraud, making false statements in a health care fraud audit, and identity theft.

On May 24, 2017, Johnson entered a guilty plea to Count 1 of the indictment. Pursuant to the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, all the charged conduct was considered by the court at sentencing. Johnson defrauded Medicare and Medicaid from approximately January 2008 to March 2014. During this time-period, he was a licensed pharmacist, and the owner and president of Kealey Pharmacy and Home Care, Inc., a pharmacy located in Janesville, Wisconsin. Kealey Pharmacy was a retail pharmacy providing, among other things, prescription drugs to customers. Kealey was reimbursed for these prescriptions in a number of ways, including reimbursement payments under Medicare and Medicaid.

Johnson submitted false and fraudulent claims to Medicare and Medicaid obtaining reimbursement for medication that was not, in fact, provided to beneficiaries. On occasion, also created false prescription orders using the identities of physicians and then submitted claims for reimbursement for medication pursuant to these false prescription orders. also lied in his responses to an audit being conducted by the State of Wisconsin Department of Health Services of paid Medicaid claims in 2013. obtained approximately $740,000 in fraudulent prescription reimbursements during his fraud scheme.

At sentencing, Judge Peterson noted that Johnson’s criminal conduct caused a considerable financial loss to the Medicare and Medicaid programs, which are designed to protect the sick and the vulnerable.

The charges against Johnson were the result of a lengthy investigation conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Federal investigators began investigating Johnson after being alerted to the possible fraud by two employees who worked at the pharmacy.

Acting U.S. Attorney Anderson commended the outstanding work of the investigators in the case and praised the two former employees who came forward with concerns about possible fraud. Anderson said, “Johnson’s case is an example of this U.S. Attorney’s Office’s commitment to prosecuting those in the health care profession who abuse the public trust by defrauding the Medicare and Medicaid programs.”

The prosecution of this case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Meredith P. Duchemin.

Former DHS Employee Sent to Prison for Scheme to Steal USDA Funds Intended to Feed Hungry Children

Monday, July 17, 2017

LITTLE ROCK—Patrick C. Harris, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, announced Monday that United States District Court Judge James M. Moody, Jr., sentenced Gladys Waits, 37, of Little Rock, to prison for her role in a scheme to steal money intended for feeding children in low income areas.

Judge Moody sentenced Waits, who pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit wire fraud on March 30, 2016, to 108 months’ imprisonment, to be followed by three years of supervised release. She was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $9,669,269.66.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) feeding programs in Arkansas are administered through the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS). Sponsors who want to participate in the feeding programs must submit an application to DHS for approval. After they are approved, they can provide meals as part of the feeding programs, and they are reimbursed for the eligible meals they serve.

Waits is the eighth defendant to be sentenced for her involvement in a scheme to fraudulently obtain USDA program funds intended to feed children in low income areas. Other defendants sentenced include: Kattie Jordan, 63 months’ imprisonment on March 15, 2016; Reuben Nims, 21 months’ imprisonment on November 2, 2016; Tonique Hatton, 108 months’ imprisonment on January 4, 2017; James Franklin, 24 months’ imprisonment on January 10, 2017; Maria Nelson, 30 months’ imprisonment on January 31, 2017; Michael Lee, 30 months’ imprisonment on May 1, 2017; and Christopher Nichols, 3 years’ probation on May 16, 2017.

Waymon Weeams, Dortha Harper, Francine Leon, Alexis Young, and Erica Warren have all pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud USDA feeding programs and are awaiting sentencing. Jacqueline Mills and Anthony Waits were convicted on April 6, 2017, following a jury trial and are also awaiting sentencing.

Gladys Waits worked for DHS and her responsibilities included processing applications from sponsors who applied to participate in the feeding programs, determining their eligibility, and approving their proposed feeding sites. Waits was responsible for approving the feeding programs for Mills, Jordan, Nims, Franklin, Nichols, Weeams, and Harper at various times between August 2012 and August 2014. The sponsors submitted claims with inflated numbers of children fed. Waits also helped these sponsors avoid DHS’s detection of the fraud.

Gladys Waits received bribe payments from some sponsors, both directly through checks made payable to her and indirectly through checks made payable to relatives, including her husband, Anthony Waits. Anthony Waits recruited sponsors Nims, Franklin, Nichols, Weeams and Harper to participate and they paid a percentage of the proceeds they received from the programs back to Anthony Waits.

The investigation is ongoing and is being conducted by the USDA–Office of Inspector General, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internal Revenue Service–Criminal Investigations, and United States Marshals Service. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Jana Harris, Allison W. Bragg, and Cameron McCree.

If you are aware of any fraudulent activity regarding feeding programs, please email that information to USAARE.FeedingProgramFraud@usdoj.gov(link sends e-mail).