Medical 'marketer' headed to prison for patient brokering after pharmacy paid thousands in kickbacks

Insurance, Julius Whigham II, August 24, 2022

WEST PALM BEACH — A Broward County man accused of being involved in a fraudulent mail-order prescription drug scheme pleaded guilty Friday to patient brokering charges in two separate cases.

During a hearing at the Palm Beach County Courthouse, Allan Jarboe pleaded to one count of patient brokering involving 20 or more patients in a case from August 2019, and to six counts of patient brokering in another case from November 2020, court records show.

In the 2019 case, Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey Gillen sentenced Jarboe to six years in state prison, to be followed by two years of probation. In the 2020 case, Jarboe, a 45-year-old Parkland resident and the onetime owner of a "medical marketing" company, was sentenced to five years on one count of patient brokering and one year on a separate count, court records show.

It was not clear whether the sentences will be served concurrently because court officials sealed documents specifying terms of the plea agreements after Friday's hearing.

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What is patient brokering and why is it illegal?

Patient brokering in Florida is considered a type of health care fraud. Typically, it involves steering patients who have private insurance to drug-treatment centers and urine-testing labs. It is illegal for a lab or a health-care provider either to offer or to pay a commission, a bonus or a bribe for the referral of patients.

The person who does the steering, often a person affiliated with a sober home, usually is given kickbacks from the thousands of dollars in insurance reimbursements the centers and labs receive for the person's drug tests. Those reimbursements can total as much as $5,000 per week, depending on the number of tests.

Pharmacies in the past five years have emerged as a new place to "broker" patients, authorities say. Palm Beach County saw its first case in December 2018.

Pharmacist admitted paying kickbacks in Delray case

Jarboe was one of five people arrested in 2019, with Delray Beach police alleging he was a co-conspirator in a scheme that shared hundreds of thousands of dollars in kickbacks after its members submitted hundreds of high-priced mail-order prescriptions to a single pharmacy. Many of the prescriptions were fraudulent.

He was arrested on additional charges the following year when investigators from Delray Beach and from the Palm Beach County Sober Homes Task Force alleged he received nearly $198,000 in kickbacks from the St. Louis-based pharmacy at the center of the investigation.

Authorities alleged Jarboe directed "marketers" affiliated with his company, SHN Telemed, to submit fraudulent mail-order prescriptions to the Express Care Pharmacy. The pharmacy received the prescription orders on preprinted forms for a variety of lotions and pills, investigators said.

Jarboe's 2019 arrest came after Jessica Silva, who co-owned Express Care with her father, told investigators that in August and September of 2017, she paid him kickbacks in exchange for patient referrals.

Silva pleaded guilty to a patient brokering charge in March 2021 and was placed on two years of probation.

Since 2016, Palm Beach County investigators have made 120 arrests for patient brokering. They have resulted in 110 convictions, most as a result of plea deals. Two defendants have been found guilty at trial.

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