Owner Of Local Firm That Marketed Topical Creams Facing Federal Healthcare Fraud, Mail Fraud Charges

Saturday, January 27, 2018

The owner of a local firm that marketed compounding creams has been indicted by a federal grand jury.

Michael Chatfield appeared on Friday before Federal Magistrate Judge Chris Steger. He pleaded not guilty and was allowed to be released on bond.

The indictment for health care fraud and money laundering comes after another employee of the same firm was sentenced earlier this month to serve 65 months in federal prison for wire fraud.

Kirstin Green, a sales rep for Top Tier Medical, was sentenced by Judge Sandy Mattice.

Green in 2014 was a sales representative for the firm located in Hamilton County. He marketed various prescription topical creams dispensed by pharmacies.

Prosecutor Perry Piper said the creams were billed to insurance companies at an exorbitant cost. He said Top Tier engaged in a scheme to defraud by deliberately marketing the topical creams to people with certain insurance companies that would pay for compounded creams, including Blue Cross Blue Shield and Tri-Care. He said if an insurance company would not reimburse a pharmacy for a compounded cream, the sales force would not attempt to write prescriptions for customers with those insurance companies.

Also, Top Tier did not accept cash from the customers for the creams. Top Tier sales representatives solicited customers to sign up to receive the creams without informing the customers that their health insurance provider would be billed several thousand dollars each for the prescription creams, it was stated.

The prosecutor said Top Tier sales representatives collected health insurance information from the customers they solicited and failed to inform the customers that such creams would be prescribed by a medical professional without any medical consultation.

He said Top Tier received a commission from the dispensing pharmacy in the form of a percentage of the amount paid by insurance companies or federal healthcare programs.

Prosecutor Piper said generally that percentage was around 30 to 40 percent of the total cost of the cream, although at times Top Tier receive 50 percent of the cost of the cream.

He said most of the customers never paid a co-pay to the insurance companies and some customers were induced to order the creams because they would receive a kickback in the form of a fee for an "evaluation" or for participation in a "study."

The prosecutor said the amount of the kickback was nominal, usually $100 or $200, to participate in the "study" but he said it "was a sufficient inducement for customers to order the creams."

He said the scheme included soliciting "customers," many of whom had no pre-existing medical condition or need to receive prescription topical creams for pain, wounds, scars and other ailments.

Also, the scheme involved dispensing very expensive prescriptions in the absence of a valid doctor-patient relationship. For example, most of the "customers" would sign up for creams without ever actually seeing a doctor or healthcare practitioner. On some occasions, the customers had no contact with a prescribing healthcare practitioner. On other occasions, the healthcare practitioner would diagnose the customer's symptoms over the phone and issue the prescription based on that contact.

The Chatfield indictment says he solicited customers to order creams without providing certain information, and he hired sales reps to do the same.

It seeks a personal judgment against him and the forfeiture of a 2015 Cadillac Escalade and a 2014 Toyota 4Runner.

 



Catoosa County Arrest Report For Feb. 16-22

Click  here  for the Catoosa County arrest report for Feb. 16-22. (click for more)

Dalton Police Department Investigating Shoplifting At Walmart

The Dalton Police Department is asking for the public’s help identifying two men who worked together to shoplift a Bose sound bar speaker and a hoodie sweatshirt from the Shugart Road Walmart. The suspects were recorded by store surveillance. The incident happened on Sunday. Two white males entered the store together an loitered for several minutes by an ATM before walking into ... (click for more)

Reflections On Billy Graham

Sandra and I are saddened this morning after learning of the death of Billy Graham. We rejoice today, because Mr. Graham once said "It will be reported that Billy Graham has died, but that won't be the truth. He said the truth is that he had only moved to a new location".  I remember when we named 15th Street as Billy Graham Avenue, his daughter Gigi came for the dedication ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Saturday Funnies

Every day, without exception, I find a number of “treats” in my daily dose of email. These funnies, and other pertinent information, are sent to me by a myriad of “Internet Buddies” who I repay by sending out some of the funniest that I collect. Think of it as sort of a “co-op” for my readers to enjoy. When The Saturday Funnies began last summer, it was what I still think is ... (click for more)

Bearettes Wallop Warren, 87-22, In Region 3-3A For 61st Win In 62 Games

CLEVELAND, Tenn. – Bradley Central is the state’s No. 2-ranked girls’ team, according to MaxPreps. The Bearettes (29-0) is the District 5-3A tournament champion. Visiting Warren County has a sub-.500 record and is the No. 4 team out of District 6-3A. So, on Friday night at Jim Smiddy Arena, the Bearettes played the favorite’s role perfectly and humbled the Lady Pioneers, ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain Teams Avoid Upset Bids By Sequoyah

Both Sequoyah basketball teams came to Signal Mountain Friday night for Region 3-AA quarterfinal games as fourth-place finishers in District 5-AA and both with losing records. Apparently, they weren’t ready to turn in their equipment just yet as they played like there was no tomorrow against the host teams. Both teams from Madisonville ended up on the short end of the final ... (click for more)