DEC 19 (MANHATTAN, N.Y.) Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York and Brian R. Crowell, the Special Agent in Charge of the New York Division of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced that Diana Williamson, a doctor who supplied an oxycodone trafficking organization with fake prescriptions that were filled using Medicaid dollars, was sentenced yesterday in Manhattan federal court to 36 months in prison. Williamson pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute oxycodone and one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud on March 8, 2012. U.S. District Judge Loretta A. Preska imposed yesterday’s sentence.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated: "Like heroin, oxycodone is a powerful, highly addictive, and potentially lethal drug. In the proper hands, it can play an important role in pain management, but Diana Williamson saw an opportunity to profit from the drug’s popularity with recreational users. By writing bogus prescriptions that were filled using Medicaid dollars, she not only engaged in drug trafficking and fraud, she also endangered users at risk of becoming addicts and harming themselves through drug abuse. She violated the central tenet of being a doctor –to first do no harm – and cheated an already-strapped Medicaid system out of almost a million dollars."
According to the Indictment and other court documents, as well as statements made during proceedings in the case:
Between September 2009 and August 2010, Williamson, a Manhattan-based primary care physician, wrote oxycodone prescriptions to patients who had no legitimate need for the medication. Co-defendant Lenny Hernandez recruited individuals to obtain oxycodone prescriptions from Williamson, helped the individuals fill the prescriptions, and arranged to resell the oxycodone to third parties. According to records obtained from the New York State Office of the Medicaid Inspector General, over the course of the conspiracy Medicaid reimbursed nearly $1million in drug expenses attributable to the oxycodone prescriptions Williamson prescribed. Analysis of patient prescription data and surveillance during the course of the investigation established that approximately 11,000 oxycodone pills were obtained through health care fraud and distributed by members of the conspiracy.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Preska sentenced Williamson, 56, of Manhattan, to three years of supervised release. The defendant was also ordered to pay a fine of $17,500 and restitution and forfeiture in the amount of $301,360. All eight of Williamson’s co-defendants have pled guilty and have been sentenced. Hernandez, who helped Williamson run this oxycodone ring, was sentenced by Judge Preska to 87 months in prison.
Mr. Bharara thanked the DEA, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the New York City Police Department, the New York State Office of Medicaid Inspector General, and the New York City Human Resources Administration for their assistance in the case.
This matter is being handled by the Office's Narcotics Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Justin Anderson and Shane T. Stansbury are in charge of the prosecution.