Seven people charged in $41M drug, health care fraud case

Seven people charged in $41M drug, health care fraud case
Seven people were charged with a $41 million health care fraud, drug distribution, and kickback conspiracy. (Source: WAFB)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WAFF) - Seven people were charged in a drug and health care fraud scheme that was run out of multiple Northern Alabama Pain Specialist clinics.

Seven individuals were charged in the Northern District of Alabama with a $41 million health care fraud, drug distribution, and kickback conspiracy run out of Northern Alabama Pain Specialists (“NAPS”), a clinic owned and operated by a husband and wife.

A 17-count indictment filed in U.S. District Court charges Mark Murphy, 63, of Lewisburg, TN, and his wife Jennifer Murphy, 63, of Lewisburg, TN, for using their medical practice, NAPS, to unlawfully distribute and dispense controlled substances, and then used the substances to build and maintain a large group of patients in order to profit from unnecessary medical services.

NAPS was a network of pain clinics located in Decatur, Madison and Lewisburg, Tennessee. Mark primarily operated his medical practice out of NAPS. Jennifer, his wife, served as an office manager of NAPS.

The Murphys reportedly got others involved in the scheme to pay and receive kickbacks and to defraud health care benefit programs out of at least $41 million in payments for items and services that were medically unnecessary and in some cases, not even provided.

Other individuals charged in this case:

  • Brian Bowman, 39, of Attalla
  • Christie Rollins or ‘Christie Schneid’, 49, of Petersburg, TN
  • Mark Murphy Jr., 33, of Lewisburg, TN
  • Willie Frank Murphy, 67, of Lewisburg, TN
  • Sharon Lutrell, 67, of Lewisburg, TN,

Some of the services included:

  • Medical office visits
  • Durable medical equipment (“DME”)
  • Urine drug screens (“UDS”)
  • High-reimbursing pharmaceuticals
  • Nerve conduction studies.

The Murphys lived in Marshall County, Tennessee where Mark was a pain management physician. He was licensed to practice medicine in both Alabama and Tennessee. He also had Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”) registration numbers which allowed him to write prescriptions for controlled substances.

Additionally, Jennifer Murphy used an alleged charity to conceal receipts of illegal kickbacks and submitted false tax returns to conceal income received from the fraud.

The Crystal Murphy Enrichment Organization was a registered 50l(c)(3) charitable organization created by Jennifer in the name of her deceased daughter, Crystal Murphy. Its stated mission was to provide opportunities for deserving and needy families to experience national parks and other benefits, including scholarship aid. Jennifer administered the Crystal Murphy Enrichment Organization.

The Northern District of Alabama says these charges in Health Care Fraud are part of nationwide law enforcement effort to crack down on health care fraud nationwide.

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