Eastern District of Missouri | Jefferson County Doctor, Staffers Accused of Conspiracy, Health Care Fraud


ST. LOUIS – A doctor with an office in St. Louis and two employees have been indicted in U.S. District Court and accused of illegally prescribing controlled substances and health care fraud.

Dr. David A. Parks, 66, James M. Bilderback, 58, both of Jefferson County, Missouri, and Michelle J. Scheer, 43, of St. Louis, were each indicted on a charge of conspiracy to illegally prescribe controlled substances and five counts of illegal prescribing of a controlled substance. Parks and Bilderback were also indicted on one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, eight additional counts of illegal prescribing of a controlled substance and 15 counts of making false statements related to health care matters.

The indictment alleges that from at least July 6, 2016, through Dec. 31, 2021, the three conspired to knowingly and intentionally prescribe controlled substances outside of the usual course of professional practice and for no legitimate medical purpose. The conspiracy’s goal was to maximize their patient population and, in turn, their profit, the indictment says. Parks and Bilderback, the indictment alleges, also conspired to defraud Medicare, Missouri Medicaid and private health insurers by billing them for claims for services that falsely and fraudulently identified Parks as the provider, including at times when Parks was out of the country.

Parks ran David A. Parks, M.D., P.C., at 3960 Lindell Boulevard in St. Louis, and Bilderback was the clinical manager and clinical research coordinator and later married Parks, the indictment says. Scheer worked at the front desk.

Many patients regularly received Schedule II controlled substance prescriptions, including hydrocodone, oxycodone, and dextroamphetamine-amphetamine salts, the indictment says.

Parks was rarely present at the clinic, typically coming in one or two days per week for a few hours at a time, the indictment says. The staff used pre-signed prescriptions so patients could obtain controlled substances without being evaluated or having their medical records reviewed and while Parks was out of the office or on domestic or international trips, the indictment says. Bilderback or another staffer would sometimes forge Parks’ signature, it says. 

After prescriptions began being processed electronically in the spring of 2019, Parks and Bilderback gave the cell phone used to approve prescriptions for Schedule II controlled substances to staffers with no prescribing authority, the indictment says. Scheer used the cell phone and made unilateral prescribing decisions about prescriptions, including by changing the dosages, quantities, and types of controlled substances, it says.

All three authorized prescriptions for controlled substances that, in combination, increased the addictive, euphoric effects of the drugs, as well as the potential for overdoses and other adverse events, the indictment says. Parks and Bilderback instructed staff to not drug-test patients, thereby intentionally avoiding the detection of signs of drug abuse and diversion and all three gave “special treatment” to friends and family of Parks and Bilderback by issuing prescriptions for controlled substances whenever desired and without any requirement to see a provider, the indictment says.

Parks and Bilderback billed for services at a higher rate – as if Parks had performed them – even though a nurse practitioner or sometimes Bilderback performed them, the indictment alleges.  Parks also failed to properly supervise nurse practitioners; he failed to review a minimum of 10% of the charts documenting the nurse practitioner’s activities and failed to stay within 75 miles by road of them while they were seeing patients, the indictment alleges.

“As we continue to combat the opioid crisis, our agency remains committed to investigating those involved in fraudulent schemes exploiting controlled substances for profit,” said Special Agent in Charge Linda T. Hanley of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG). “This indictment demonstrates HHS-OIG’s commitment to working with our law enforcement partners to protect vulnerable individuals from harm and uphold the integrity of healthcare providers.”

“Medical professionals have a duty to ensure that their patients’ health and safety are their primary concern,” said Diversion Program Manager Kim Daniels, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s lead for the Diversion Program in Missouri, Kansas and southern Illinois. “When they abdicate this responsibility, they put lives at stake. Diverting medications for illegitimate purposes will get DEA’s attention and we’ll be relentless in pursuing medical staff to ensure the practice ends.”

Charges set forth in an indictment are merely accusations and do not constitute proof of guilt.  Every defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The FBI, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Missouri Attorney General’s Office Medicaid Fraud Control Unit investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Amy Sestric is prosecuting the case.

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