Salespeople get bad raps, don’t they? This is especially true for those who sell cars. There is an ongoing stereotype that car salesmen care more about their commissions than they do about giving people fair prices for quality vehicles. Arguably, telemarketers get the worst reputations in the field of sales. More often than not, they get hung up on before they can even deliver their pitches!
For the most part, these stereotypes about salespeople are unfair assumptions. However, Randolph, New Jersey’s Matthew Puccio isn’t doing much to undo the negative connotations associated with his profession. As reported by the District of New Jersey branch of the United States Department of Justice this week, Puccio is a former sales representative who was arrested for his role in a scheme to defraud public health benefits programs.
Puccio submitted bills for medically unnecessary compounded prescriptions
According to the DoJ, Puccio submitted bills for medically unnecessary compounded prescriptions. The 38 year-old was indicted by a federal grand jury, one week ago, for conspiracy to commit health care fraud. His arraignment is forthcoming at a yet-to-be determined date. He faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.
The indictment states that Puccio took part in a conspiracy that involved submitting fraudulent prescriptions between November 2014 and March 2016. The scripts were for compounded medications which are defined as specialty medicines mixed by a pharmacist to meet the specific medical needs of an individual patient.
“Although compounded drugs are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), they are properly prescribed when a physician determines that an FDA-approved medication does not meet the health needs of a particular patient, such as if a patient is allergic to a dye or other ingredients in the prescription,” the DoJ explains.
Puccio’s scheme focused on marketing companies recruiting and paying sales representatives.
Reps, including Puccio, would obtain compounded medications for themselves and others regardless of medical necessity. They specifically targeted health plans that reimbursed for compounded medications at high rates.
“Puccio exploited this opportunity through working as a sales representative for several compounding pharmacies,” says the DoJ report, “He targeted individuals who had health plans that covered compounded medications and then convinced those individuals to obtain prescriptions for compounded medications, regardless of medical necessity.”
Along with co-conspirators, Puccio encouraged two New Jersey-based doctors to sign medically unnecessary prescriptions for beneficiaries that they had recruited. Once the scripts were written, they were filled by the compounding pharmacies Puccio worked with. Those pharmacies would then receive reimbursements from the health plans and paid Puccio a percentage of the amounts they received.
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