Serge Francois of Miami, Florida was arrested earlier this month for allegedly conspiring to defraud the government of $37 million through various federal health coverage networks including TRICARE, the medical insurance program for members of the military and their families.
Francois, 51, is a pharmacist and the owner of Atlantic Pharmacy, which reportedly sold prescription drugs to the federal government for U.S. military personnel and government employees. He is one of over a dozen defendants implicated in the Atlantic Pharmacy case for money laundering, obstruction of justice, and payment of illegal kickbacks. Francois pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Daniel Bernstein, the prosecutor handling the case, said if convicted, Francois could potentially receive a life sentence and that he “might conclude that becoming a fugitive is a better option.” For this reason, a magistrate judge deemed Francois to be a flight risk and danger to the community and ordered him detained without bond.
Francois has been a licensed South Florida pharmacist for 20 years. According to the indictment, his Pompano Beach-based pharmacy allegedly submitted fraudulent claims for compounded medications that were not necessary between 2010 and 2015.
Atlantic Pharmacy was reportedly implicated by Sonsoles Simsir and Celep Simsir of Jacksonville. Court papers show that the couple made plea deals with the prosecution and asserted that Atlantic Pharmacy paid their organizations millions of dollars in kickbacks for patient referrals.
The prosecution also claims that Francois’ pharmacy paid illegal kickbacks to several physicians, including Fernando Garcia Dorta, who allegedly wrote prescriptions that allowed Atlantic Pharmacy to defraud over $25 million from TRICARE alone.
The U.S. attorney’s office is seeking to take Francois’ luxury vehicles, bank accounts, and properties, including a 10,000-square-foot mansion (pictured above) he reportedly bought for $3.6 million last year that once belonged to wrester-turned-actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.