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Doctor Pleads Guilty In Kickback Scheme

Gavel and a stethoscope
Flickr Creative

A 46-year-old Fort Myers physician has pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to receive health-care kickbacks and agreed to pay $2.8 million to resolve allegations that he defrauded the federal government, prosecutors said. 

Under a plea agreement announced Monday, Michael Frey faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison for each count of conspiracy.

Frey, an interventional pain management specialist, was an owner of Advanced Pain Management Specialists, P.A. in Fort Myers.

Frey was accused of conspiring with a durable medical- equipment provider known as A&G Spinal to receive compensation in exchange for referrals he made to the company, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida said in a news release.

A&G made checks payable to Frey’s wife.

A&G Spinal principals Ryan Williamson and William Pierce have pleaded guilty to conspiring to pay kickbacks to Frey and are awaiting sentencing, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. Frey also was accused of receiving payments from Williamson for referrals of compound pharmaceutical pain-cream prescriptions.

Williamson has also pleaded guilty for his role in that arrangement, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

In the plea agreement, Frey also admitted that he had received kickbacks in the form of speaker fees related to Insys Therapeutics, Inc., programs.

Insys manufactures a fentanyl sublingual spray known as SUBSYS. Frey allegedly received kickbacks to spur him to write prescriptions for the product, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

In addition to his guilty plea, Frey has agreed to a settlement in which he will pay $2.8 million to resolve allegations that he submitted false claims to Medicare and the TRICARE program by ordering urine drug testing when it was not necessary.

Prosecutors also contended that Frey’s ownership interest in a medical group that provided anesthesia led him to improperly refer patients for anesthesia services.