'Compound King' of Pain Cream Sentenced to 10 Years in $21M Fraud

Alicia Ault

June 30, 2020

A federal judge in Texas has sentenced a Houston pharmacist to 10 years in prison for billing the federal workers' compensation program $21.8 million for medically unnecessary compounded pain creams and gels.

The pharmacist, George Philip Tompkins, 75, called himself the "Compound King." His wife, Marene Kathryn Tompkins, 68, who was a vice president of the couple's business, Piney Point Pharmacy, was sentenced to 30 days of home confinement and 3 years of supervised release.

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the sentences and noted that US District Judge Sim Lake of the Southern District of Texas ordered George Tompkins to pay $12.3 million in restitution and his wife to pay $950,000 in restitution.

The couple, along with an accomplice, Anoop Chaturvedi, 48, a legal permanent resident from India, were indicted in February 2018. They created a conspiracy to bill state and federal workers' compensation programs for compounded pain creams and gels, most of which were illegitimate prescriptions, according to the DOJ.

Marene Tompkins pleaded guilty in January to one count of conspiracy to pay kickbacks. Chaturvedi disappeared before the indictment and is considered a fugitive, says the DOJ. There is a warrant for his arrest.

George Tompkins went to trial. In March 2019, a jury convicted him of one count each of conspiracy to pay and receive kickbacks, conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering, in addition to 11 counts of healthcare fraud and three counts of wire fraud.

According to a statement about the initial indictment, Piney Point Pharmacy billed the US Department of Labor at least $23 million for compounded medications between 2009 and 2016. They wrote illegitimate prescriptions that were created to act as kickbacks to the three involved in the conspiracy, according to DOJ. The Department of Labor paid $11.6 million for the fraudulent claims.

George Tompkins and Chaturvedi created a separate entity ― Wellington Advisors ― to receive the payments from the Department of Labor.

Tompkins tried to disguise illegal kickback payments as legitimate "marketing" expenses and continued to ship the medications to patients, even after they "repeatedly complained they did not want them," said the DOJ in a statement after the sentences were issued.

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