'It's sleazy': Veterans used in multimillion-dollar medication scheme, U.S. officials say

'It?€™s sleazy': Veterans used in multimillion-dollar medication scheme, U.S. officials say

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — UPDATE 11/18/19 2:53 P.M.: 

Four of the suspects, Greg carter, Sam Todd, Derwin Allen and Pablo Ortiz, have entered not guilty pleas in a federal case for a multimillion-dollar medication scheme.

Scott Balotin has not entered a plea as he does not have an attorney.

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The trial could start as soon as Jan 6.

ORIGINAL STORY:

Nearly a dozen locals face federal charges for a multimillion-dollar medication scheme.

Investigators said they used a marketing firm and pharmacy to rip off TRICARE, which is insurance for military members.

Federal documents list the following suspects: Scott Balotin (49, St. Johns), Greg Carter (62, Fleming Island), Thomas Jones (50, Jacksonville), John Clark Walton (49, Jacksonville), David Stevens (40, Callahan), Sam Todd (40, Jacksonville Beach), Derwin Allen (50, Jacksonville) and Pablo Ortiz (51, Middleburg).

In a related case, investigators said a grand jury returned an indictment charging: Qualla Miller (42, Orange Park), Earl Smalls (57, Jacksonville) and Mario Correa Jackson (35, Jacksonville).

"It's sleazy," said Marine Corps veteran Col. Len Loving of the Five Star Veterans Center.

"[Some of] our veterans don't have a real awareness of what can be done to them, and then as a result of that, people take advantage of them, and it's really sad that would happen," Loving said.

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Investigators said the Jacksonville marketing firm, Casepark, would link TRICARE customers to the Park and King Pharmacy for prescription drugs.

In many cases, they got the recipients a pain cream with a reimbursement rate up to $17,000.

"Those compounded pain creams cost a whole lot of money, so there's some thought on the part of the government that they were misusing the TRICARE payment system in order to become wealthy off the government," said Action News Jax Law and Safety Expert Dale Carson.

Federal authorities said Greg Carter, the pharmacy's owner, was involved.

Friday, Action News Jax stopped by the pharmacy for his side of the story.

"What do you have to say about the changes?" Action News Jax Reporter Russell Colburn asked.

"Well, you have to talk to my attorney," Carter said.  "We're anxiously excited about our day in court. That's what our position is."

Investigators said the charges range from money laundering to giving and receiving kickbacks and conspiracy to commit health care fraud.

The documents state Carter brought in nearly $30 million himself.

They state in total, the suspects allegedly stole $43.5 million which was used in part to purchase a Cadillac SUV, a Ford RV and two homes.

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