Pharmacies owner sentenced to 18 years in prison for fraud

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Ashley Walters, 54, of Hattiesburg, a Mississippi owner of pharmacies and pharmacy distributors has been sentenced to 18 years in prison and ordered to repay the government nearly $287.7 million. Prosecutors described a $510 million health care involving high-priced pain cream, most likely the state’s largest case. Between 2012 and 2016, Walters orchestrated a scheme to defraud Tricare, the insurance program for U.S. military, veterans, and their families, and private health insurers by distributing compounded medications that were not needed, prosecutors said.Walters had been charged in a 37-count indictment. He pleaded guilty in July to one count each of conspiracy to commit health care and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

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“The fraud committed by Walters and others in this investigation wasted hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars and deprived individuals of needed medical care,” said David P. Burns, Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. On Friday, Walters apologized for his actions. He also apologized to his family and friends for causing them pain and embarrassment.