Nurse Practitioner, Pharmacist Were Among "Gatekeepers" Who Helped Make "Cream Scheme" Possible

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

A nurse practitioner in Cleveland, Tn., and a pharmacist in Louisiana were among medical insurance "gatekeepers" who allowed a multi-million-dollar "cream scheme" to take place based in North Hamilton County, it was testified Tuesday in Chattanooga Federal Court.

Agent Brian Kriplean, of the Food and Drug Administration's investigative division, said, "It's like with the income tax, the system operates on a level of trust in the gatekeepers."

He is the last government witness in a lengthy trial on Georgia Avenue. Wayne Wilkerson, Michael Chatfield, Kasey Nicholson, Jayson Montgomery and Billy Hindmon are facing criminal charges and possible prison time.

Candace Michele Craven, who worked at a small Cleveland pharmacy owned by one of the co-conspirators, testified earlier in the case that she was on the payroll of Wilkerson, the ring leader who lived next door to Chatfield on Rosada Drive in Ooltewah.

In one text message intercepted by the government, one of the scheme leaders said Ms. Craven had pledged "to fill 500 at a time" as soon as Wilkerson got a new Karma Med Spa set up.

Ms. Craven was arrested on healthcare fraud charges and is awaiting sentencing.

The witness also said that the pharmacist at Willow Pharmacy in Madisonville La., Jared Schwab, was getting payments for freely filling the cream prescriptions fed him mainly by Ms. Craven. For example, in April 2015, he got a payment for $5,000, it was stated.

At one point when Schwab was away from the office, one of the conspirators bemoaned the fact that "those lazy girls" at the pharmacy were not quickly filling the cream orders as he did.  

Schwab has not been charged.

Wilkerson in one email informed others in the scheme that he was reducing their monthly payments to take care of Ms. Craven and the pharmacist. He said, "I budgeted what I had to pay for Michele and Jared." He also said, "I am withholding $1,000 from everyone to pay Jared for his consulting services. We need to get these (billings) out as soon as possible and Willow will facilitate them."

Billing for the compound creams was as much as $15,000 a jar, bringing huge charges to Blue Cross Blue Shield and later the military's TRICARE health program.

Those in the group signed up for creams, and they also got "commissions" from their own orders and from those they recruited. The drug stores working with the Wilkerson group had signed agreements that they would remit from 30-40 percent of the money received from the insurance companies on the cream billings.

When the scheme was going strong, hundreds of thousands of dollars were wired each month to LLCs set up by the members of the venture. The amount going to Wilkerson was over $2 million in a month, and he would pay out some of this on down the recruiter line.

The witness said Chatfield lined up numerous family members to get multiple creams, including his wife, Natalie Foster Chatfield; brother Brandon Chatfield, and uncle Jim Chatfield. His father, Hal Chatfield, was paid $470,000, it was testified.

Also on the patient list were Michael Chatfield's wife's parents, George and Deborah Foster of Lookout Mountain. George Foster came into court and said he did not know anything about ordering creams and never received them. The agent said the Foster creams went to the Michael Chatfield home and Natalie Foster Chatfield signed that she received them.

The amount billed insurors just for the creams for George Foster was $129,760, and for his wife it was a similar amount. The agent said Chatfield admitted that was his handwriting on the application for the Foster orders.

It was testified that Montgomery cashed in by signing up the large Hispanic family of a friend of his mothers. That generated a quarter million dollars in billings.

The agent told of members of the Hal Bowling family of Chattanooga, who signed up on the hood of their car while tailgating outside Finley Stadium during halftime of a game. Even a daughter who just turned 16 got her own slew of creams. That was $150,000 in billings.

A girl from Nashville who eventually moved to California and got into acting, Katherine Calloway, was also a "beneficiary." However, she said she found the creams "sketchy" and threw them away. 

Agent Kriplean said Blue Cross finally got wise to the scheme and discontinued paying for compound creams. He said a week later a shaken Wilkerson asked his cohorts for input on who was still paying for the creams and what, if any, stipulations those remaining insurors might have.

In one of the text messages, Chatfield said, "I'm hoping they will refill most of them, and we will hit $10 million (in billings) this month."

In another exchange, Wilkerson and Kirtis Green were looking at a map of military bases. Green said, "All I see is $." Wilkerson replied, "D--- straight!!" The group filed millions in billings with the military's TRICARE. Green earlier pleaded guilty to healthcare fraud and got a 65-month federal prison sentence.

In another text, Chatfield commented it was "a good month." Green responded, "I agree brother!" Chatfield answered, "H--- yeah, this month we are going to murder it!"

 

 

 

 

 


Hixson Man Drowns After Canoe Capsizes On Tennessee River Near Scottsboro

Latest Hamilton County Arrest Report

Fire Department Helps Family Stranded On Williams Island


A Hixson man died near Scottsboro, Ala., when his canoe capsized on Friday evening. He was identified as Gregory Lawson, 51. A woman who was with him swam to shore. Authorities are investigating ... (click for more)

Here is the latest Hamilton County arrest report: ADAMS, AUSTIN TYLER 711 BELVISTA AVE CHATTANOOGA, 37411 Age at Arrest: 33 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga CRIMINAL TRESPASSING ... (click for more)

The Chattanooga Fire Department came to the aid of a family stranded on Williams Island on a rainy Saturday. The parents and two children had planned to camp on the island near Baylor School. ... (click for more)


Breaking News

Hixson Man Drowns After Canoe Capsizes On Tennessee River Near Scottsboro

A Hixson man died near Scottsboro, Ala., when his canoe capsized on Friday evening. He was identified as Gregory Lawson, 51. A woman who was with him swam to shore. Authorities are investigating the incident. (click for more)

Latest Hamilton County Arrest Report

Here is the latest Hamilton County arrest report: ADAMS, AUSTIN TYLER 711 BELVISTA AVE CHATTANOOGA, 37411 Age at Arrest: 33 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga CRIMINAL TRESPASSING CRIMINAL IMPERSONATION DISORDERLY CONDUCT --- BAKER, LAKISHA RENEE 2409 EAST 13TH STREET CHATTANOOGA, 37404 Age at Arrest: 41 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga FINANCIAL ... (click for more)

Opinion

From One Mayor To Another: Walden Town Council Is Finally Fulfilling Its Vision

Dear Walden Board Members, As a former Town of Walden mayor and police commissioner, I have quietly watched as the new Town Center proposal has unfolded over the past several months. I have felt your pain as you carefully weighed all the pros and cons of such an important endeavor. I have understood, all too well the pressure each of you have been under to make the right decision, ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: It’s How Well We Mend

It’s not exactly something you want your banker or your mother to know, but in June a very smart and quite perceptive medical doctor spent almost two hours talking to me and told me some important things I’ve never heard before. He told me that I was a whole lot sicker than I thought I was. As a matter of fact, he also told me that it was his notion I had somewhere between 12 and ... (click for more)

Sports

John Gilpin, Jennifer Huwe Repeat As Pie Run Winners

It was almost like a couple’s day at the annual Signal Mountain Pie Run Saturday morning. John Gilpin was the men’s overall winner for the third straight year while his girlfriend Haley Moody was second among the ladies. Jennifer Huwe was also a repeat winner as she won the women’s division while her husband Kevin was second overall behind Gilpin. The weather was ideal ... (click for more)

Mocs Volleyball Falls On The Road At Woffard

Despite playing extremely short-handed due to injuries, the Chattanooga Mocs volleyball team put together a gutsy effort in a tough 3-2 (25-21,15-25, 25-27, 25-18, 15-9) loss on the road at Wofford on Friday night inside Jerry Richardson Indoor Stadium in Spartanburg, S.C. Chattanooga falls to 5-15 overall and 0-7 in SoCon play following the loss. Wofford improves to 11-11, ... (click for more)