JACKSON, Miss. — A pharmacy marketer has been sentenced to 30 months in prison for his role in a scheme to defraud a military health care program and private insurance companies, federal prosecutors said.

Thomas Wilburn Shoemaker, 57, of Rayville, Louisiana, was sentenced Tuesday for his role in a multimillion-dollar scheme to defraud Tricare and private insurance companies by paying kickbacks to distributors for the referral of medically unnecessary prescriptions. Tricare covers uniformed service members, retirees and their families.

The alleged conduct resulted in more than $180 million in fraudulent billings, including more than $50 million paid by federal health care programs, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a news release.

Shoemaker participated in the scheme by acting as a marketer for a network of pharmacies owned and operated by co-conspirators Mitchell Barrett and David Rutland. Shoemaker worked with the pharmacies to use his Tricare insurance to adjust prescription formulas to ensure the highest reimbursement without regard to efficacy, and he recruited doctors to procure prescriptions for high margin compounded medications. Shoemaker also obtained numerous fraudulent prescriptions using the personal information of military acquaintances.

Shoemaker pleaded guilty on Aug. 12 to conspiracy to defraud the United States and solicit, receive, offer, and pay illegal kickbacks.

In addition to the prison sentence, Shoemaker was ordered to pay restitution and forfeit all assets resulting from the scheme.

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