Tampa doctor pleads guilty to distributing opioids outside DEA registration
TAMPA, Fla. – Jeffrey John Abraham (52, formerly of Tampa) has pleaded guilty to distributing controlled substances not specified in his Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) registration. He faces a maximum penalty of four years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000. His sentencing date has not yet been set.
According to court documents, Abraham, a Florida-licensed physician, was employed at two local Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals where he had applied for and obtained an official federal duty DEA registration number that was "limited to official federal duties," and specifically "restricted to government personnel for official duties only." This DEA registration was "not transferable on change of ownership, control, location or business activity." Abraham resigned from the VA in June 2017 and began working at a pain management clinic in Tampa, without first obtaining a new DEA registration.
From August 2017 through March 7, 2018, while working at the pain management clinic, Abraham wrote more than 2,000 prescriptions for Schedule II controlled substances, including over 600 prescriptions for hydromorphone (commonly known as Dilaudid) and over 1,000 prescriptions for oxycodone. In March 2018, Abraham resigned from working as a physician at the clinic. During the investigation of this case, Abraham admitted that his DEA registration did not authorize him to prescribe or distribute controlled substances in a private clinic setting after the date of his resignation from the VA, and agreed to surrender his DEA registration.
This case was investigated by the DEA Tampa District Office and is being prosecuted by the United States Attorneys Office for the Middle District of Florida. This case was also investigated by the Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit located in the U.S. Attorney’s Office. On August 2, 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the formation of the Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit in 12 federal districts to help combat the devastating opioid crisis ravaging families and communities. The unit focuses specifically on opioid-related health care fraud and abuse by using data to identify and prosecute health care professionals and others who are contributing to the prescription opioid epidemic.