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Business Observer Thursday, Sep. 12, 2019 8 months ago

Marketing firm owners plead guilty in $4M health care kickback scheme

Frank Monte and Kimberley Anderson face five years in prison and must forfeit more than $1.7 million in assets.

TAMPA — The owners of Centurion Compounding Inc., a Wesley Chapel marketing company, have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to pay health care kickbacks.

Frank Monte, 40, and Kimberley Anderson, 52, could go to prison for five years for the alleged scheme, which, according to authorities, saw them enter into a lucrative but illegal marketing agreement in 2014 with LifeCare, a Pinellas County pharmacy owned by Carlos Mazariegos and Benjamin Nundy.

Centurion, the release states, marketed compounded medications, specifically creams for pain and scars, to beneficiaries of health care plans, especially TRICARE. The creams typically ranged in price from $900 to $21,000 for a one-month supply.

Dr. Anthony Baldizzi, a Pinellas-based physician, received 10% of the after-cost amount of each claim paid by TRICARE or other health care benefit programs. In return, the release states, Baldizzi would write prescriptions for compounded medications filled by LifeCare for Centurion-recruited patients. Mazariegos, acting on behalf of the conspirators, made cash payments and provided other items of value to Baldizzi as kickbacks, including a new BMW M3, authorities contended. 

LifeCare, the release states, netted a profit of $4 million from the scheme, which it then split among itself, Centurion and Baldizzi.

Using their share, it’s alleged that Monte, a Valrico resident, and Anderson, of New Port Richey, purchased a 2009 Bentley Continental; a 2012 Lamborghini Aventador; a 2012 Itasca motorhome, a 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG; a 2014 Maserati; a 2005 Ford GT; a 2012 Fisker Karma; property in Land O’ Lakes; a 2010 Ferrari California; a 2013 McLaren 12C Spider; a 2012 Porsche Panamera; and property in Plant City.

In addition to facing lengthy prison sentences, the pair must forfeit more than $1.7 million in assets, the release states. 

Mazariegos and Nundy were separately charged and pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud. Baldizzi previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud and receiving health care kickbacks. Mazariegos, Nundy and Baldizzi are scheduled to be sentenced in November and December.

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