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!"

 

 

 

 

 


Latest Hamilton County Arrest Report

Taylor Charged With Robbing Same South Pittsburg Bank Twice

Latest Hamilton County Arrest Report


Here is the latest Hamilton County arrest report: ANDERSON, CHRISTOPHER ALLEN 4924 BAL HARBOR CIRCLE HARRISON, 37416 Age at Arrest: 30 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County VIOLATION ... (click for more)

Federal authorities have charged a man with robbing the same South Pittsburg bank on two occasions. A criminal information says Bradley Shawn Taylor robbed the First Jackson Bank at 201 Battlecreek ... (click for more)

Here is the latest Hamilton County arrest report: ADAIR, SHAMEIKA SHANNETTE 6752 HARBOR CIR CHATTANOOGA, 37416 Age at Arrest: 28 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga THEFT OF PROPERTY ... (click for more)


Breaking News

Latest Hamilton County Arrest Report

Here is the latest Hamilton County arrest report: ANDERSON, CHRISTOPHER ALLEN 4924 BAL HARBOR CIRCLE HARRISON, 37416 Age at Arrest: 30 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County VIOLATION OF CONDITIONS OF RELEASE --- BALTIMORE, KENYON LAMAR HOMELESS 1000 E 14TH ST AREA CHATTANOOGA, 37404 Age at Arrest: 41 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County FORGERY ... (click for more)

Taylor Charged With Robbing Same South Pittsburg Bank Twice

Federal authorities have charged a man with robbing the same South Pittsburg bank on two occasions. A criminal information says Bradley Shawn Taylor robbed the First Jackson Bank at 201 Battlecreek Road on Dec. 19, 2016. It says he robbed the bank again on Aug. 15, 2017. The Lawrence County Sheriff's Office arrested Bradley Shawn Taylor, who was then 35, at his home in ... (click for more)

Opinion

Ignored By The Water Company

How much time do you spend at Tennessee American Water's website? It is worthless for online reporting problems. Replies? Never happen. Communication? They appear to consciously avoid honest communication with concerned citizens. This "Opinion Page" is an avenue of last resort to report a problem, because no one is trying to listen at Tennessee American Water. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Let’s Start With Truth

By all accounts the public schools in Chattanooga and Hamilton County are far from what the average taxpayer would want them to be. Our schools are our number one priorities, this easily reflected by the fact they now receive over 60 percent of the total county budget -- the most money ever allocated to public education in history -- and the unbridled desire of our booming area ... (click for more)

Sports

UTC Soccer Records Another Shutout At Citadel

The Chattanooga women’s soccer team earned a record-tying eighth shutout with a 2-0 win over The Citadel Sunday afternoon in Southern Conference action at the Washington Light Infantry Field. The Mocs improve to 8-4-3 on the year and 3-2-1 in league action. The Citadel falls to 5-6-2 overall and 1-4 against the conference. The Mocs matched a school record eight shutouts set ... (click for more)

Covenant Scores Big USA South Win Over Maryville On Riggs PK

Jesse Riggs' penalty kick in the 77th minute and a stout defensive effort from the Covenant men's soccer team lifted the Scots to a pivotal, 1-0, victory over Maryville in USA South action on Saturday night at Scotland Yard. Covenant (11-2-1, 8-0 USA South) gains sole possession of first place in the USA South West Division with the win. The Scots finish the regular season ... (click for more)