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Five people charged in a national scheme to defraud the government and insurance companies out of $30 million, including $950,000 from Hamilton County Schools, have been sentenced to federal prison, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Tennessee.

Jerry Wayne Wilkerson, 39, was sentenced to 13 years, the longest of the sentences, with Michael Chatfield, 30, sentenced to nine years, Kasey Nicholson, 34, sentenced to two and a half years, Billy Hindmon, 38, sentenced to four years and three months and Jayson Montgomery, 39, sentenced to two years.

After a five year investigation, the group was convicted of multiple counts of fraud in March after the trial began last September.

(Read more: Five convicted in national cream scheme that defrauded public and private insurance, including Hamilton County Schools)

The cream scheme involved the dispensing of fake pain cream prescriptions for up to thousands of dollars, often issued without the patient's approval and frequently signed by a health care provider who never met the patient, the release states.

"The U.S. Attorney's Office takes pride in working with our law enforcement partners," J. Douglas Overbey, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee said in the release. "Each day these partners work tirelessly to detect and combat healthcare schemes such as this one. This office will not relent in our efforts to dismantle scams that take advantage of vulnerable citizens and taxpayers."

In October 2019, three Hamilton County Schools employees were suspended in connection to the scheme that billed the district through its insurance company for thousands of dollars worth of fake, overpriced medications.

 

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