Tampa, Florida – United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez announces the unsealing of a 16-count indictment charging Steven Chun (57, Sarasota) and Daniel Tondre (50, Tampa) with conspiring to pay and receiving kickbacks in connection with prescribing a fentanyl spray. Chun is also charged with five counts of soliciting and receiving kickbacks in the form of speaker fees; Tondre is charged with five counts of offering and paying the speaker fees to Chun when he worked as an Insys sales representative; and Chun and Tondre are both charged in five counts of identification fraud in connection with the speaker events. If convicted on all counts, Chun and Tondre each face a maximum penalty of 5 years in federal prison on the conspiracy count, up to 5 years’ imprisonment on each identification fraud count, and up to 10 years in prison for each substantive kickback violation. The indictment also notifies the defendants that the United States is seeking a money judgment in the amount of the proceeds of the alleged kickbacks.
According to the indictment, Chun, a doctor, owned and operated a pain management medical practice in Sarasota where he prescribed a large volume of Schedule II opioids, including fentanyl. Tondre was employed as a sales representative for Insys Therapeutics, Inc., a company that manufactured and sold Subsys, an expensive form of liquid fentanyl designed to be applied under the tongue (sublingual spray), allowing it to rapidly enter the bloodstream. Insys sales representatives were compensated, in part, with sales commissions based upon paid prescriptions of Subsys written by practitioners in their sales territory. Tondre’s territory included Chun’s practice.
Insys actively marketed Subsys to pain management doctors, including Chun, to increase the number of Subsys prescriptions written by Chun. Through the Insys sales division and executives at the company’s headquarters, Insys used a sham speaker program to conceal and disguise kickbacks and bribes paid to high-prescribing doctors, like Chun, to induce them to prescribe Subsys. Insys sales representatives, like Tondre, arranged speaker programs that were often only attended by family and friends, or repeat attendees, and included falsified or forged signatures of attendees. Insys also bribed large Subsys-prescribers, like Chun, by hiring individuals, often close to the doctors, to work as an Insys liaison to facilitate the approval of insurance forms for Subsys, including those submitted for Medicare patients. Chun was paid more than $275,000 in illegal kickbacks and bribes from Insys in connection with the sham speaker programs.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Health and Human Services—Office of Inspector General, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, and by the Opioid Fraud Abuse and Detection Unit at the United States Attorney’s Office, which focuses on opioid-related fraud and abuse by medical and health care professionals who have contributed to the prescription opioid epidemic. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kelley C. Howard-Allen.