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Jax Daily Record Friday, Oct. 19, 201808:50 AM EST

Jacksonville physician pleads guilty in prescription scam that cost government millions

Dr. Felmor Agatep received kickbacks, never examined patients.
by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

A Jacksonville doctor admitted being involved in a prescription drug scam that involved TRICARE, the health care program managed by the government for military service members.

Dr. Felmor Agatep, 59, pled guilty Thursday to theft of government property for receiving kickbacks related to the prescriptions.

He faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison.

According to the plea agreement, Agatep, an internal medicine specialist, wrote prescriptions for expensive compound creams to treat scars and pain, among other ailments.

The creams were prescribed largely to TRICARE beneficiaries, costing on average more than $16,000 per cream for a one-month supply.

Beginning in late 2014, Agatep was recruited by a marketing group that recruited primarily TRICARE beneficiaries as patients and promoted compounded creams for various pharmacies. Agatep was paid $100 per patient to write prescriptions for compound creams that were filled and billed to TRICARE.

Between Dec.12, 2014 and Jan. 31, 2015, Agatep wrote 268 prescriptions for compound cream medications for TRICARE beneficiaries, for which TRICARE was billed about $4.4 million. 

People working for the marketing group provided patient names and phone numbers to Agatep. He never examined or saw the patients and knew that writing the prescriptions was not in the ordinary course of medical practice and not medically necessary, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida.

The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Julie Hackenberry.

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