TAMPA — A Pinellas County doctor has pleaded guilty to scheme that netted him cash kick backs and a luxury BMW but that duped federal health insurers out of $5.3 million.
According to a recent plea agreement, Dr. Anthony Baldizzi of Tierra Verde worked with two Tampa Bay companies in prescribing pain and scar creams, among others. The cost of the creams — which ranged from $900 and $21,000 for a one- month supply — were often billed to Tricare, a government program that insures military members, retirees and their families.
Prosecutors said Lifecare Pharmacy and Centurion Compounding bought Baldizzi a $72,0000 BMW and agreed to kick back money for paid claims resulting from prescriptions he wrote for creams filled at Lifecare. The St. Petersburg pharmacy received approximately $5.3 million from the federal program.
At the behest of Centurion, a Pasco County marketing firm, Baldizzi also conducted "pop up" clinics at a hotel and other locations so he could see "high volumes" of Centurion-recruited patients and prescribe Centurion-promoted creams, many of which were billed to the government.
No sentencing date has been set for Baldizzi, 54, who faces a maximum of 10 years in prison for conspiracy and receiving illegal kickbacks. As of today, his medical license remains ''clear and active."
Co-conspirators Carlos Mazariegos and Benjamin Nundy, owners of Lifecare, are to be sentenced in June after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud in related cases. The investigation is continuing, prosecutors said.
Contact Susan Taylor Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893--8642. Follow @susanskate