Maryland Nurse Practitioner Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Distribute and Dispense Oxycodone
Greenbelt, Md., – Justina Aburime, age 53, of Bowie, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to one count of conspiracy to distribute and dispense oxycodone and one count of distribution and dispensing of oxycodone.
The guilty plea was announced by Jarod Forget, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Washington Division; United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; and Special Agent in Charge Maureen Dixon, Office of Investigations, Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services.
According to her guilty plea, from February 2017 to February 2020, Aburime conspired with others, including Thomas Charles Johnson, to distribute and dispense oxycodone outside the scope of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose at Personal Touch Medical Spa, LLP (PTMS), a Largo, Maryland pain management clinic.
As licensed and registered nurse practitioners under the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the state of Maryland, Aburime, and Johnson were legally authorized to prescribe controlled substances for legitimate medical purposes.
During her employment with PTMS, Aburime wrote oxycodone prescriptions without a legitimate medical need and outside the scope of professional practice. Aburime allowed an unauthorized person to write oxycodone prescriptions using her medical credentials. Specifically, Aburime allowed PTMS’s owner—who was not authorized to prescribe controlled substances—to prescribe oxycodone to individuals using pre-signed blank prescriptions bearing Aburime’s name and DEA registration number.
In some instances, Aburime was traveling outside the United States at the time of treatment or did not see the patient who was prescribed oxycodone using her credentials. Further, Aburime agreed that she prescribed oxycodone to patients when there was no legitimate need and without considering alternative treatment options. Aburime also agreed that she increased oxycodone dosage over time without a medical justification.
Co-defendant Thomas Charles Johnson, Jr. pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute oxycodone on October 28, 2021 and is scheduled to be sentenced on February 17, 2022 at 12:00 p.m. Aburime faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison followed by up to a lifetime of supervised release for each count. U.S. District Judge Paula Xinis has scheduled sentencing for April 26, 2022 at 1:00 p.m.
SAC Forget commended the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services- Office of Inspector General and the U.S. Attorney's Office of Maryland for their work in the investigation.