Associated Press Writer
SAVANNAH — Federal authorities said Thursday they’re writing $27.8 million in checks to repay Medicare, Medicaid and private insurers with money swindled by father-and-son business owners convicted of stockpiling prescription drugs that were paid for by insurance and re-selling them for big profits.
The whopping restitution payments come more than seven years after a federal jury in Savannah convicted Martin Bradley III of Miami and his father, Martin Bradley Jr. of Savannah, on charges of racketeering, money laundering and related counts.
Prosecutors say the Bradleys and their Miami-based company, Bio-Med Plus, committed fraud from Florida to California in order to obtain expensive drugs used to treat cancer, AIDS and blood diseases for a fraction of their real cost. The drugs, often bought for pennies-on-the-dollar from patients whose insurance had purchased them, were then re-sold through the Bradleys’ business.
“The money being returned to the victims today came directly from the reclamation of the fortune amassed by the defendants,” U.S. Attorney Edward Tarver said during a news conference, noting it’s the largest restitution payout ever collected in one case by his Southern District of Georgia office. “That fortune included planes, automobile collections, yachts, vacation homes and office buildings. These things were all seized and sold.”
The Bradleys were convicted in March 2006 and recently exhausted their appeals, allowing federal authorities to liquidate their assets and repay victims in the case. Martin Bradley III is serving a 25-year prison sentence, while his father is serving 15 years.
Tarver said total assets seized from the defendants and their company totaled $55 million, which included proceeds from the sale of Bio-Med Plus. Roughly half that money went to repay six health programs and insurers, including the Florida and California agencies that administer Medicaid.
The Genetically Handicapped Persons Program, a California state program, is getting the most at $10.4 million, followed by Florida Medicaid with $10.1 million. The smallest restitution payout, less than $354,000, went to Blue Shield of California.
The millions seized from the Bradleys aren’t being spent on victim restitution will go to the federal government in the form of fines and forfeitures, Tarver said.