Skip to main content

LATEST UPDATES: Tracking COVID-19 | Racial Justice | Election 2020

Former Marine Pleads Guilty In Military Health Fraud Scheme

The Federal Justice Center in downtown San Diego in this undated photo.

Photo by Alexander Nguyen

Above: The Federal Justice Center in downtown San Diego in this undated photo.

A former Marine who defrauded the military health program TRICARE out of more than $65 million, primarily through recruiting local Marines to seek unneeded medications, pleaded guilty Tuesday to fraud charges.

Bradley White of Oakley, 31, is one of eight defendants charged in a fraud scheme that includes a pair of Tennessee doctors, pharmacy owners, and San Diego-area Marines who prosecutors say ordered prescriptions for patients who did not need the medications, then billed TRICARE "at exorbitant prices."

White's role was to recruit Marines to take part, most of whom were from the San Diego area, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

His recruits would seek compounded medications — a mix of specialty meds intended to meet a patient's specific medical needs — paid by TRICARE. Prescriptions for those recruits were written by doctors Carl Lindblad and Suzy Vergot, who worked at the Choice MD clinic in Tennessee. Federal prosecutors say the doctors never examined the patients in person before writing them prescriptions.

Lindblad and Vergot's prescriptions were then sent to pharmacies cooperating with the scheme. TRICARE reimbursed the pharmacies, which then distributed kickback payments to the scheme's recruiters.

Prosecutors say Lindblad and Vergot wrote 4,442 prescriptions in a six- month span, which led to TRICARE being billed for $65,679,512.

White was paid more than $195,000 for his role, which led to more than $7.6 million of the total money billed to TRICARE, prosecutors said.

Along with White, Lindblad and Vergot have also pleaded guilty, as well as Candace Craven, a nurse practitioner at Choice MD, CFK Inc., the corporate owner of one of the pharmacies involved, and Josh Morgan, another former Marine from San Diego who recruited patients.

Choice MD's owners, Jimmy and Ashley Collins, are the last defendants awaiting trial.

White is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 18 in a San Diego federal courtroom.

FEATURED PODCAST

San Diego News Matters podcast branding

KPBS' daily news podcast covering local politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings so you can listen on your morning commute.

  • Need help keeping up with the news that matters most? Get the day's top news — ranging from local to international — straight to your inbox each weekday morning.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Curious San Diego banner

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or sign up for our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.