HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — A 53-year-old New Hope man is just the latest in a string of people to be sentenced for his involvement in a multi-million-dollar healthcare fraud conspiracy.

Chief United States District Court Judge L. Scott Coogler sentenced John Hornbuckle to 80 months in prison on March 10. Hornbuckle pleaded guilty in November 2022 to one count of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and one count of conspiracy to receive kickbacks.

Hornbuckle owned QBR, LLC. between 2012 and 2018, a healthcare facility management company. In his plea agreement, QBR billed insurers millions of dollars for electro-diagnostic testing done by its technicians, whether there was a medically necessary reason for them or not.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Hornbuckle drove QBR to pay medical providers a per-patient fee for the tests they ordered from the company. Those fees were reimbursed by insurers, including Medicare and other government healthcare programs.

“The payments,” officials said, “were disguised as hourly payments for the provider’s time and the time of the provider’s staff, but the provider was actually paid a fee per patient who received a test. Insurance programs paid more than nine million dollars for the medically unnecessary tests that QBR paid doctors to order.”

Within his plea agreement, Hornbuckle was ordered to pay $9,192,005.20 in restitution, a fine of $250,000, and a forfeiture of $176,449.19.

Several others allegedly involved in the scheme have either pleaded guilty or been convicted and sentenced, including Mark Murphy and his wife Jennifer of Lewisburg, Tennessee. Both were convicted of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and conspiracy to commit health care fraud, along with various substantive counts related to the same, and conspiring to defraud the United States and receiving kickbacks.

The Murphys were sentenced to twenty years each in prison. They owned and operated North Alabama Pain Services (NAPS). The couple closed both the Decatur and Madison offices in early 2017.

Mark Murphy and Jennifer Murphy were each ordered to pay more than $50 million in restitution. Jennifer Murphy was also convicted of tax-related charges for underreporting clinic income.

Brian Bowman, 41, of Gadsden, pleaded guilty to healthcare fraud conspiracy. In his plea agreement, Bowman marketed QBR’s electro-diagnostic testing to medical providers and received a fee for every test they ordered. He received nearly a million dollars in fees from the company.

James Ewing Ray, 52, also of Gadsden, pleaded guilty to health care fraud and kickback conspiracy for his role as a sales rep who marketed QBR’s scheme to medical practices and received kickbacks for every test ordered. John Alan Robson, 40, of Trussville, was indicted in February on charges of health care fraud conspiracy, kickback conspiracy, and kickbacks. His indictment shows that Robson was a sales rep who marketed various healthcare products and services to doctor’s offices. He was paid for the prescriptions, and tests he generated from doctors.

Brian Bowman and James Ray are awaiting sentencing.