PIKEVILLE — A Pike County woman has agreed to plead guilty to health care fraud, after becoming the latest person ensnared in a wide-ranging investigation into improper activities at two Marrowbone pharmacies.
Sheena Mullins pleaded guilty to a single count of health care fraud, after federal prosecutors announced Thursday their intent to file information charging her with the crime.
Mullins quickly waived indictment and reached a plea deal with prosecutors. Specific terms of the agreement remain under seal.
According to the information, Mullins worked with James Ronald Huffman and Beverly Lockhart — first at the Marrowbone Clinic Pharmacy and later at the Marrowbone Hometown Pharmacy — to defraud Express Scripts between February 2007 and February 2012. According to the document, the three “falsely and fraudulently sought reimbursement for prescription drugs that were not provided to private pay insurance beneficiaries.”
According to the plea agreement, Mullins’ job at the pharmacies was to submit billings for patient prescriptions. The document says that Mullins input prescriptions purportedly for herself and her husband, to be billed to their insurance carrier, which the couple never received.
“Throughout the period, a total of $484,392.41 was billed to the insurance carrier for Defendant or her husband,” the plea agreement says. “Of this amount, 60 percent was fraudulently entered by the Defendant.”
Mullins is scheduled to appear for sentencing Feb. 5.
Huffman and Lockhart were originially charged August 1, 2012, in a pair of federal indictments. Huffman’s body was found in a Chapmanville, W.Va., Best Western motel the same day the indictments against him was unsealed.
In one of the original indictments, Huffman, who was pharmacist at the Marrowbone Clinic Pharmacy and later at the Marrowbone Hometown Pharmacy, and Lockhart, his sister, allegedly conspired with Dr. Thad Ray Manning to sell prescription drug samples between June 2007 and July 2011. Huffman and Lockhart were also accused of submitting false claims to insurance companies and Medicare for prescriptions never received by patients.
In the second indictment, Huffman and Lockhart were charged along with a Texas doctor and six other people in a conspiracy to sell prescription narcotics. The indictment notes that audits by the Kentucky Board of Pharmacy found “huge shortages” of controlled substances at both pharmacies during Huffman’s tenure, including 250,000 units at Marrowbone Clinic Pharmacy over a 46-month period and 20,000 units at Marrowbone Hometown Pharmacy over a six-month period.