U.S. Attorney’s Office – Eastern District of Louisiana, December 15, 2020
NEW ORLEANS – United States Attorney Peter G. Strasser announced that, DONALD PETER AUZINE, JR. (AUZINE), age 50, a resident of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and BONNIE JEAN LAWLESS DIAZ (DIAZ), age 45, a resident of Slidell, Louisiana, were charged on December 11, 2020 with conspiracy to commit health care fraud and money laundering.
According to the Indictment, Prime Pharmacy Solutions (“Prime”), was located in Slidell, Louisiana. Prime operated as a primarily closed-door pharmacy that was in the business of mixing and filling prescriptions for compounded medications that were reimbursed by health care benefit programs, including TRICARE, a health care benefit program for United States military personnel and their families.
Between 2014 – 2016, AUZINE, DIAZ, and other co-conspirators, acting on behalf of Prime, selected formulas for compounded medications, not based on scientific evaluations of effectiveness or individualized patient need, but rather, to maximize reimbursement from TRICARE and other health care benefit programs. Prime then mass produced these High-Yield Compounded Medications and created a series of preprinted prescription forms encouraging and directing prescribers/doctors to prescribe these High-Yield Compounded Medications. The scheme involved defrauding TRICARE of approximately $16 million dollars.
If convicted, each defendant faces a possible maximum sentence of ten years’ imprisonment, up to three years of supervised release, a $250,000 fine, and a mandatory $100 special assessment fee per count.
The case is being investigated by the Defense Criminal Investigative Service – Office of Inspector General, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Veterans Affairs – Office of Inspector General, and the United States Postal Service – Office of Inspector General.
The United States Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of Louisiana stated that the indictment is merely a charge and that the guilt of the defendants must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. The prosecution of the case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathryn McHugh.