On November 16, a federal jury convicted three individuals from Texas for their alleged roles in a prescription compound cream operation, involving claims totaling over $145 million.

Dehshid “David” Nourian, Christopher Rydberg, and Dr. Michael Taba, a McKinney-based physician, were accused of conspiring to compensate doctors, including Dr. Taba, for prescribing “medically unnecessary” products to federal workers. 

Nourian and Rydberg owned and/or operated three pharmacies located in Fort Worth and Arlington, Texas. In their roles within pharmacy operations, Nourian and Rydberg were alleged to have paid Dr. Taba for recommending expensive compound medications to be dispensed by their pharmacies. According to the Department of Justice, between May 2014 and March 2017, the pharmacies billed the Department of Labor Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs and Blue Cross Blue Shield more than $145 million and were paid more than $90 million for the “medically unnecessary” prescriptions referred by Dr. Taba and other providers in exchange for bribes and kickbacks. The government accused Nourian and Rydberg of covering their gains by “laundering the money through purported holding companies.”

The charges for which the trio was convicted include conspiracy to commit health care fraud, health care fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy to defraud the United States. Each count carries potential penalties ranging from 5 to 20 years in prison. They are scheduled to be sentenced at a later date.

Medicare fraud enforcement is showing no signs of slowing down. Since its launch in March 2007, the DOJ’s Health Care Fraud Strike Force Program, which deploys nine strike forces across twenty-seven federal districts, has gone after more than 5,400 defendants. 

If you ever find yourself the target of an investigation, facing charges, or just wanting to ensure your practice is compliant, having a dedicated Medicare fraud defense team is vital. The attorneys at Chilivis Grubman represent healthcare clients of all types and sizes in connection with government investigations (both criminal and civil) and regulatory matters, including matters involving the DOJ and HHS-OIG.  If you need assistance with such a matter, please contact us today.