On Sept. 26, 2023, an unsealed 13-count indictment revealed charges against two Houston pharmacists and an Allen physician, implicating them in a complex scheme involving healthcare fraud, kickbacks and money laundering, with millions of dollars at stake.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Shalondria Simpson, 45, Houston, is a pharmacist who owned and operated two pharmacies in Houston: Advance Pharmacy and TruCare Pharmacy. Simpson’s twin sister, physician Lashondria Simpson-Camp, 45, Allen, allegedly referred prescriptions to Advance and TruCare in exchange for illegal kickbacks and bribes. Shayla Bryant, 38, Houston, was a pharmacist and Advance and TruCare’s business manager.
During 2016 to 2022, Simpson, Simpson-Camp and Bryant purportedly collaborated with co-conspirators to illicitly file deceptive claims with the Department of Labor's Office of Workers' Compensation Program (OWCP). These claims pertained to costly medications, many of which were medically unnecessary, and their acquisition was allegedly influenced by kickbacks and bribes. The OWCP is responsible for managing workers' compensation benefits under the Federal Employee's Compensation Act (FECA).
The three are also accused of orchestrating a scheme involving the exchange of illicit kickbacks. Allegedly, Simpson and Bryan allegedly facilitated the illegal transactions, often using shell companies or cash, to make direct payments to individuals such as physicians, Simpson-Camp (who is also a clinic owner), a medical assistant, and various marketers. Collectively, it is claimed that Simpson's pharmacies submitted approximately $170 million in fraudulent claims to FECA via OWCP.
In an effort to conceal the scheme, Simpson allegedly conspired to launder the proceeds derived from these unlawful activities through financial transactions exceeding $10,000. Once becoming aware of the investigation, Simpson allegedly engaged in actions to obscure her activities. This included converting the proceeds of her criminal endeavors into cash, as well as transferring funds across more than ten bank accounts and a cryptocurrency wallet. She is also alleged to have sought assistance from others in the liquidation of assets and the concealment of her ownership and control over the assets.
The three are collectively charged with one count of conspiring to defraud the U.S and engage in healthcare kickback transactions, as well as one count of conspiring to commit healthcare fraud. Simpson is individually charged with five counts of making healthcare kickback payments, with one of those counts also implicating Bryant. Additionally, Simpson faces charges of conspiring to launder monetary instruments and five counts of money laundering.
If convicted, each defendant could receive a maximum prison sentence of five years for their involvement in fraudulent health care kickbacks and up to 10 years for their participation in the conspiracy to commit health care fraud. Simpson and Bryant could also be subject to additional penalties of up to 10 years in prison for making health care kickback payments. Simpson may face a maximum prison term of 20 years for her role in conspiring to launder money and an additional 10 years in prison for each count of money laundering.