In a recent case that exposes fraud and corruption in the healthcare industry, an Arkansas doctor has been sentenced to more than eight years in federal prison for accepting kickbacks, defrauding TRICARE, and attempting to obstruct the investigation. Joe David May, also known as Jay May, played a central role in a fraudulent prescription-drug scheme, where he rubber-stamped prescriptions for compounded drugs without evaluating the patients or considering medical necessity. May received thousands of dollars in cash kickbacks in exchange for his participation in the scheme, causing TRICARE to pay over $4.63 million for prescriptions that were unnecessary and often for individuals he did not know. Through the cooperative efforts of federal law enforcement, May’s conviction serves as a reminder that those who abuse the healthcare system will face severe consequences.
The case against Dr. Joe David May involves his participation in a fraudulent scheme to defraud TRICARE, the health insurer for the nation’s military. May was found guilty of accepting kickbacks, defrauding TRICARE, and obstructing the investigation. As a result, he has been sentenced to more than eight years in federal prison and ordered to pay restitution to TRICARE.
Details of the case against Dr. Joe David May
Dr. Joe David May, also known as Jay May, was indicted in 2020 on twenty-two counts, including wire fraud, mail fraud, violating the anti-kickback statute, lying to the FBI, falsifying records, and aggravated identity theft. After a six-day trial in June 2022, May was convicted on all counts. The evidence presented during the trial revealed that May was at the center of a fraudulent prescription-drug assembly line and attempted to cover it up.
Sentencing and restitution orders
United States District Judge Kristine G. Baker sentenced Dr. May to 102 months in federal prison and ordered him to pay more than $4.63 million in restitution to TRICARE. This restitution amount represents the funds that TRICARE paid for the fraudulent prescriptions. In addition to the prison sentence and restitution, May will also serve three years of supervised release following his imprisonment and pay a special assessment of $2,200.
The Fraudulent Scheme
The scheme operated by recruiting military personnel and veterans with TRICARE. These individuals’ names were used to fill out prescriptions for compounded drugs, with the selection of expensive drugs and authorizations for refills. The prescriptions lacked prescriber signatures, so the middlemen involved in the scheme sent the pre-filled prescriptions to medical professionals like Dr. May. May would then rubber stamp the prescriptions without consulting the patients or verifying the necessity of the drugs. TRICARE paid over $12 million for prescriptions generated in this scheme, contributing to the overall cost to TRICARE, which spent over $2 billion for compounded prescription drugs in 2015.
Involvement of military personnel and veterans
The fraudulent scheme heavily relied on the involvement of military personnel and veterans with TRICARE. These individuals’ names were used to fill out prescriptions, but they were not aware of or involved in the scheme. Their names were chosen to exploit the coverage provided by TRICARE and generate profits for the perpetrators of the scheme.
The role of middlemen
Middlemen played a crucial role in the fraudulent scheme. They were responsible for obtaining the pre-filled prescriptions without prescriber signatures and sending them to medical professionals like Dr. May. These middlemen facilitated the operation of the prescription-drug assembly line, enabling the fraudulent scheme to continue.
The cost to TRICARE
TRICARE incurred significant financial losses as a result of the fraudulent scheme. The scheme led to TRICARE paying over $12 million for the fraudulent prescriptions. The overall cost to TRICARE for compounded prescription drugs in 2015 exceeded $2 billion. These losses highlight the impact of healthcare fraud on the integrity of the healthcare system and the financial burden it imposes on government programs.
Dr. Joe David May’s Involvement
Dr. Joe David May was actively involved in the fraudulent scheme. He accepted kickbacks in exchange for rubber stamping prescriptions that he did not evaluate or have any knowledge about. May accepted thousands of dollars in cash kickbacks and signed 226 fraudulent prescriptions, resulting in TRICARE paying over $4.63 million. May’s active participation in the scheme played a significant role in defrauding TRICARE and contributing to the financial losses incurred.
Number of fraudulent prescriptions
Dr. Joe David May signed a total of 226 fraudulent prescriptions as part of the scheme. These prescriptions were for patients that May did not know, never treated, and had no knowledge about. The fraudulent prescriptions were submitted to TRICARE, resulting in significant financial losses for the health insurance program.
Lies and obstruction during investigation
During the investigation into the fraudulent scheme, Dr. Joe David May lied to federal agents. He falsely claimed that he only signed prescriptions for patients he had evaluated and denied receiving kickbacks. May also obstructed the investigation by failing to provide all the requested prescriptions and fabricating medical records to make it appear that the recipients of the drugs were his patients. These lies and obstruction attempts further complicated the investigation and highlighted May’s attempts to cover up his involvement in the scheme.
All nine of Dr. Joe David May’s co-conspirators pled guilty to conspiracy and cooperated with federal law enforcement. Several of them testified at May’s trial. The co-conspirators who have been sentenced are Derek Clifton, Albert Glenn Hudson, Donna Crowder, Jennifer Crowder, Keith Benson, Kenneth Myers Jr., and Keith Hunter. Their sentences ranged from 3 years of probation to 51 months imprisonment. The cooperation of the co-conspirators was instrumental in building the case against Dr. May and securing his conviction.
Recovery of Funds
Through the prosecution of Dr. Joe David May and his co-conspirators, the United States has recovered nearly $8 million in restitution, forfeiture, and fines. These funds represent the amount that was fraudulently obtained from TRICARE. The recovery of these funds is an important step in holding the perpetrators accountable and mitigating the financial impact of the fraudulent scheme.
Restitution, forfeiture, and fines
As part of his sentencing, Dr. Joe David May has been ordered to pay restitution of more than $4.63 million to TRICARE. This restitution amount represents the funds that TRICARE paid for the fraudulent prescriptions. In addition to restitution, May and his co-conspirators also faced forfeiture of assets gained through the fraudulent scheme. The fines imposed as part of the sentencing contribute to the overall recovery of funds and serve as a deterrent for future fraudulent activities.
Total amount recovered by the United States
The total amount recovered by the United States through the prosecution of Dr. Joe David May and his co-conspirators is nearly $8 million. This amount includes restitution, forfeiture, and fines imposed as part of the sentencing. The recovery of these funds demonstrates the commitment of law enforcement agencies and the United States Attorney’s Office in holding those involved in healthcare fraud accountable and safeguarding government programs.
Words from the U.S. Attorney and Law Enforcement
Jonathan D. Ross, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, emphasizes the importance of trust in the healthcare system and warns others in the medical industry against abusing it. He highlights Dr. May’s acceptance of kickbacks, defrauding of TRICARE, and attempts to deceive federal agents investigating his crimes. Ross affirms the commitment of his office and their partners at the FBI and HHS-OIG in uncovering and prosecuting individuals who succumb to the temptation of easy money.
James A. Dawson, FBI Little Rock Special Agent in Charge, condemns Dr. May’s actions and emphasizes accountability. Dawson states that by defrauding TRICARE, May stole from service men and women, military retirees, and their families. He highlights that May’s behavior has no place in society, and the FBI will aggressively investigate those who undermine the integrity of the healthcare system.
Jason E. Meadows, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, reinforces the importance of honesty and integrity in federal healthcare programs. He highlights that Dr. May signed prescriptions for patients he had no doctor-patient relationship with, all at the expense of the American taxpayer. Meadows notes that his office is dedicated to investigating healthcare professionals who abuse the system for personal gain and will work with law enforcement partners to hold them accountable.
Sentencing and Consequences for Dr. Joe David May
Dr. Joe David May has been sentenced to more than eight years in federal prison for his involvement in the fraudulent scheme. In addition to the prison sentence, May will serve three years of supervised release following his imprisonment. He has been ordered to pay more than $4.63 million in restitution to TRICARE and a special assessment of $2,200. The sentencing and consequences imposed serve as a deterrent for others involved in healthcare fraud and emphasize the severity of May’s actions.
Investigation and Prosecution
The investigation into the fraudulent scheme involved the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG). These agencies worked together to gather evidence, interview witnesses, and build a strong case against Dr. Joe David May and his co-conspirators. The prosecution was led by Assistant United States Attorneys Alexander D. Morgan and Stephanie G. Mazzanti, who presented the evidence in court and secured May’s conviction.
For more information on previous TRICARE fraud cases and similar schemes, interested individuals can refer to press releases and updates provided by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Arkansas. These resources highlight the ongoing efforts to combat healthcare fraud and hold those responsible accountable for their actions.
For additional inquiries or assistance, individuals can reach out to the main office of the Eastern District of Arkansas U.S. Attorney’s Office. Contact information can be obtained through their website, which also includes online resources and links to their social media accounts.