Testimony from the man described as the ‘quarterback’ of a team of pharmaceutical sales reps, doctors and patients responsible for millions of dollars in fraudulent prescriptions billed to military insurer Tricare dominated the second day of testimony in the trial of an Alexander doctor to write many of these prescriptions.
Dr. Joe David May, also known as ‘Jay May’, stands trial after being indicted by the federal government for conspiracy, wire fraud, mail fraud, anti-bribery violation, theft of aggravated identity, lying to the FBI and falsifying federal investigation records. May was originally charged in January 2020 with 43 counts of fraud, obstruction and other federal charges along with Derek Clifton, a former Baxter County basketball coach, in a 41-year indictment. pages.
On the stand Thursday and much of Friday was Albert Glenn Hudson of Little Rock, a former pharmaceutical sales representative who federal prosecutors say was responsible for coordinating the conspiracy that was responsible for about $12 million in fraudulent compound prescriptions for pain creams, scar creams and supplements. in 2015 that were generated in Arkansas by a Mississippi compounding pharmacy.
In testimony Thursday, Hudson said Tricare was targeted “because it was one of the only insurance companies to pay for compound drugs.”
According to the United States Food and Drug Administration, drug compounding is the process of combining, mixing, or modifying ingredients to create a drug tailored to the needs of an individual patient. Magistral preparation includes the combination of two or more drugs. Compound drugs are not FDA approved.
On Friday, Hudson testified that in mid-2015, following a briefing on the Tricare fraud by CBS, he began asking his “team” to provide the names of doctors who were prescribing their compound drugs so that if contacted by the pharmacy, they may act as if they have a relationship with the prescribing physician or nurse practitioner.
“Why did you lie at the pharmacy?” asked Assistant US Attorney Alex Morgan.
“Because if the pharmacy says they’re not seeing patients in the clinics, they can cancel the contract and stop doing the Tricare prescriptions for us,” Hudson said.
Hudson said he learned that May was approached by FBI agents investigating the Clifton fraud in January 2016 days after learning that Donna Crowder, a nurse practitioner at North Little Rock Veterans Administration Hospital, had been interviewed by the FBI, and that the Mississippi compounding pharmacy had been raided.
Hudson said he made payments to Crowder’s daughter, Jennifer, in exchange for Donna Crowder’s rubber stamping prescriptions for him. Donna Crowder and Jennifer Crowder both pleaded guilty to violating federal anti-bribery law in July 2020 before U.S. District Judge Lee Rudofsky.
Hudson said he met Clifton on January 26, 2016 at a Sonic Drive-in on Colonel Glenn Road to talk about the ongoing investigation.
“That’s the first time I heard he was giving money to doctors,” Hudson said.
Cross-examined by May’s attorney, Shelly Koehler, Hudson named more than a dozen people he said were part of his team responsible for recruiting Tricare beneficiaries for prescriptions. Asked about Clifton’s role, Hudson replied that he did not recruit Clifton. He said Clifton came to him to tell him he had a longtime friend, May, who was a doctor and could sign prescriptions.
When asked how May’s signature would be obtained, Hudson replied, “I would have obtained it from Derek.”
Also on Friday, the jury of seven men, five women and an alternate heard from Vilonia’s Betty Maxwell, who testified that she and her husband, Joseph, had been registered to receive ordinances from her grandson. When she received the prescriptions in the mail, she said, she sent them back.
“I’ve never heard of these drugs,” Maxwell said. “I never ordered or filled them.”
She said she never consulted or spoke to May about prescriptions, never met him, and he never contacted her.
“It didn’t even look like medicine,” she said of the products she received. “It looked like lotion. I didn’t even open the second one. I wrote ‘return to sender’ and put them by the front door.”
Asked about the cost of the prescriptions, Maxwell said she couldn’t remember for sure, but she remembered it was a considerable sum.
“It looks like it was around $50,000,” she said. “It’s been a long time and I can’t remember, but it was outrageous.”
When testimony resumes on Monday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie Mazzanti said the government case will continue with plans to call nine witnesses, including co-defendants Donna Crowder and Keith Benson.