Tampa Bay Businessmen Indicted in Billion Dollar Insurance Fraud Scheme

Four Pinellas County businessmen, Andrew Assad, Peter Bolos, Michael Palso and Larry Everett Smith have been indicted on charges of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, mail fraud and introducing misbranded drugs into interstate commerce. The conspiracy involved using their telemedicine business called HealthRight and compounding pharmacy companies to deceive patients, doctors, insurance carriers by fraudulently soliciting insurance coverage information and prescriptions, mark up the prices of the invalidly prescribed drugs, and bill insurance carriers. One of the compounding pharmacies, Alpha-Omega in Clearwater, allegedly charged $374 for $35-worth of lidocaine – a 969-percent markup.

According to the indictment, the men defrauded Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee out of approximately $174,000,000. Another Bay area man, Scott Roix, already please guilty to felony conspiracy in this case and another case involving wire fraud. Assad, Bolos, Palso, and Smith could face prison terms of over 30 years, fines up to $250,000 and probation for their charges.

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