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Sarasota pain management doctor, sales rep charged in healthcare fraud and kickback conspiracy

TAMPA, Fla. — A Sarasota pain management doctor and a sales representative were both charged in healthcare fraud and kickback conspiracy.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), 57-year-old doctor Steven Chun owned a pain management medical practice in Sarasota. He prescribed a large volume of opioids, including fentanyl.

Daniel Tondre, 50, worked as a sales representative for Insys Therapeutics, Inc., that manufactured and sold Subsys, an expensive form of liquid fentanyl.

Insys’ sales reps were paid with sales commissions based on paid prescriptions of Subsys. Tondre’s sales territory included Chun’s practice.

Insys actively marketed Subsys to doctors like Chun to increase sales, according to DOJ. Insys also used sham speaker programs to disguise kickbacks and brides paid to high-prescribing doctors, like Chun, DOJ said in a press release.

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Tondre arranged speaker programs that were only attended by family and friends, or repeat attendees and included falsified signatures of attendees, according to DOJ’s press release.

Insys also bribed large Subsys-prescribers like Chun by hiring individuals who were often close to the doctors to work as an Insys liaison to approve insurance forms for Subsys, including those submitted for Medicare patients, DOJ said in a press release.

Chun was paid more than $275,000 in illegal kickbacks and bribes from Insys in connection with the sham speaker programs.

CHARGES:

  • Chun and Tondre were charged with 16 counts of conspiring to pay and receive kickbacks in connections with prescribing a fentanyl spray.
  • Chun was also charged with five counts of soliciting and receiving kickbacks in the form of speaker fees.
  • Tondre was also charged with five counts of offering and paying the speaker fees to Chun when he worked as a Insys sales rep.
  • Chun and Tondre are also being charged with five counts of identification fraud in connection with speaker events.

If Chun and Tondre are convicted on all counts, they each face a max of five years in prison on the conspiracy count, up to five years on the identification fraud count and up to 10 years for each kickback violation.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Health and Human Services—Office of Inspector General, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service and the Opioid Fraud Abuse and Detection Unit at the United States Attorney’s Office

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