Former Hattiesburg oral surgeon pleads guilty in scheme to bilk $400 million from insurers

Published 9:00 am Tuesday, August 7, 2018

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) — A former Hattiesburg oral surgeon has pleaded guilty to participating in a pharmacy scheme that prosecutors say bilked more than $400 million from insurers.

Brantley Nichols waived indictment and pleaded guilty July 24 to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. He faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Nichols is the ninth person to be charged in Mississippi. Prosecutors say Nichols was prescribing high-dollar creams handmade by a Hattiesburg pharmacy without examining patients, presigning prescription forms from October 2014 to January 2017. Prosecutors say another defendant — Hope Thomley — usually completed the forms.

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Prosecutors also want U.S. District Judge Keith Starrett to order Nichols to forfeit more than $160,000.

Nichols is free on bail pending sentencing set for Jan. 8.