A physician licensed in the states of Oklahoma and Texas pleaded guilty on Wednesday to writing and returning prescriptions for compound drugs in exchange for illegal bribes, U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson said.
Jerry May Keepers, 68, of Kingwood, Texas, pleaded guilty to one count of soliciting and receiving bribes for health care. The guards violated federal anti-bribery law when he accepted the illegal payment.
If the plea deal is accepted by U.S. District Judge Claire V. Eagan, the Wardens will serve 36 months of supervised probation and pay no more than $1,518,180.46 in restitution. Judge Eagan will sentence Keepers on May 10, 2022.
In the plea agreement, Keepers admitted that OK Compounding approached him to write prescriptions for its patients to be filled by the pharmacy. OK Compounding was a pharmacy controlled by Christopher Parks and Dr Gary Lee, who are also accused in the case.
Specifically, on January 22, 2014, Keepers knowingly received $25,000 from representatives of OK Compounding. The purpose of the payment was to induce caretakers to refer prescriptions for expensive compound drugs to the pharmacy. Compound medications have been filled and claims have been filed by the pharmacy. These drugs were in turn paid for by federal health care programs, including TRICARE, Medicare, CHAMPVA, and the Federal Employees Compensation Act program.
According to the superseding indictment filed in the case, the bribe payments were disguised by various fictitious business arrangements, including contracts in which several doctors claimed to serve as “medical directors” or “doctors consultants” for the pharmacy. Keepers and OK Compounding said Keepers was paid for his services as a national spokesperson, medical director or national marketing director.
It is illegal to pay or receive “bribes” in conjunction with federal health insurance. Prohibiting bribes is crucial to ensure that financial incentives do not compromise the medical judgment of doctors and other healthcare providers.
Keepers ran a pain clinic in the towns of Friendswood, Beaumont, and Humble, Texas, and opened a clinic in Tulsa in November 2012.
The Department of Labor – Office of Inspector General (OIG), IRS – Criminal Investigation, US Postal Service – OIG, Department of Veterans Affairs – OIG, FBI, the Department of Health and Human Services – OIG and Defense Criminal Investigative Service have conducted the investigation investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Melody Noble Nelson and Richard M. Cella are prosecuting the cases.