Houston, Texas - A Houston pharmacist and his wife were sentenced Thursday for their roles in an approximately $21.8 million Department of Labor (DOL) - Office of Workers Compensation Programs and Federal Employees Compensation Act fraud scheme.
George Philip Tompkins, 75, of Houston, Texas, the self-proclaimed “Compound King” and former owner of Piney Point Pharmacy, was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Marene Kathryn Tompkins, 68, also of Houston, the former vice president of Piney Point Pharmacy, was sentenced to 30 days of home confinement and three years of supervised release. Both were sentenced by U.S. District Judge Sim Lake of the Southern District of Texas, who presided over the trial of George Thompkins and the guilty plea of Marene Tompkins. Judge Lake also ordered George Tompkins to pay $12,300,381.36 in restitution (and forfeiture) and Marene Tompkins to pay $950,745.10 in restitution (and forfeiture).
On March 10, 2020, after a six-day trial, George Tompkins was convicted by a jury of conspiracy to pay and receive kickbacks, conspiracy to commit health care fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, 11 counts of health care fraud, and three counts of wire fraud. Kathryn Tompkins pleaded guilty on Jan. 3, 2020, to one count of conspiracy to pay kickbacks.
According to the evidence at trial, George Tompkins and others billed the DOL approximately $21.8 million for medically unnecessary compound gels and creams that were predicated on illegal kickback payments. George Tompkins and Anoop Chaturvedi, 48, a legal permanent resident from India who remains a fugitive on related charges, created the scheme to generate compounded pain cream prescriptions and bill health care programs for injured state and federal employees. George Tompkins and Chaturvedi used separate entities—including George Tompkins’s company, Wellington Advisors—to receive and launder the proceeds of their crimes. Further evidence presented at trial showed that George Tompkins sought to disguise illicit kickback payments as legitimate “marketing” expenses and continued to ship patients compound gels and creams even after patients repeatedly complained they did not want them.
Marene Tompkins pleaded guilty before trial. As part of her guilty plea, she admitted that she conspired with her husband and others to pay illegal kickbacks as part of the scheme.
George and Marene Tompkins were charged in a superseding indictment in November 2018 along with Chaturvedi. Chaturvedi is considered a fugitive and a warrant remains outstanding for his arrest in connection with the charges. Anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to contact the U.S. Postal Service - Office of Inspector General (USPS-OIG) at 1-888-877-7644.
A federal criminal indictment is merely an accusation. Chaturvedi is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
USPS-OIG, DOL-OIG, IRS-Criminal Investigation, U.S. Department of Homeland Security-OIG, and Department of Veterans Affairs-OIG, conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Julie Redlinger charged the case and, with Trial Attorneys Leslie Garthwaite and Devon Helfmeyer of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, provided substantial assistance in its prosecution. Trial Attorneys Drew Pennebaker and Sara Clingan of the Fraud Section tried the case and continue to prosecute it.
The Fraud Section leads the Medicare Fraud Strike Force. Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, which maintains 15 strike forces operating in 24 districts, has charged more than 4,200 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for nearly $19 billion. In addition, the Health and Human Services (HHS) Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.