School Employees Charged in Oxycontin
(Miami, FL) Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge, Miami Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Robert Parker, Director, Miami-Dade County Police Department, announced today that on July 29, 2005, a federal grand jury in Miami returned an eighty-four count Indictment charging twenty-nine defendants with conspiracy to possess oxycodone with the intent to distribute and to obtain oxycodone with counterfeited or fraudulent prescriptions, possession of oxycodone with intent to distribute, obtaining oxycodone with counterfeited or fraudulent prescriptions, health care fraud and conspiracy to commit health care fraud.
Charged in the indictment are a doctor from Miami-Dade County, five Miami Dade County school bus drivers, thirteen Miami-Dade County school bus attendants, two Miami-Dade County school custodians, one Miami-Dade County school cook, one Miami-Dade County school cashier, one former Miami-Dade County school bus driver who now is a Miami-Dade County Transit bus driver, one sheet metal worker and four others.
“The DEA is committed to working with our local counterparts in combating the drug dealers who stalk this community and endanger the welfare and safety of our children,” said Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Miami Field Division. “We will continue to make federal resources available for Miami-Dade County and other communities to help curb the flow of drugs in their neighborhoods and to protect our children. I have said it before and I will say it again today, DEA has zero tolerance for drug traffickers who work with or around our children.”
According to the Indictment, beginning in approximately January 2003, three defendants recruited their co-defendants, some of whom were Miami-Dade schools employees, to participate in the conspiracy by providing their insurance identification information. Some defendants obtained prescriptions for OxyContin that were medically unnecessary from a co-defendant who is a physician. At a later date, some defendants forged and counterfeited prescriptions for OxyContin using their own and their co-defendants’ insurance identification information.
Some defendants presented the forged and counterfeit prescriptions at local pharmacies in the Miami-Dade and Broward Counties to obtain OxyContin. These defendants would then sell the filled prescriptions for cash to their co-defendant.
In addition, defendants would submit insurance claims to United Health Group, fraudulently claiming reimbursement for the cost of the prescriptions. The Indictment alleges that approximately one-hundred forged, counterfeited or medically unnecessary prescriptions for the prescription OxyContin-accounting for thousands of OxyContin tablets-were presented to the pharmacies.
United States Attorney Acosta stated, “Public school employees hold special positions of trust. They serve as role models for our children. Their actions, as much as their words, teach what is right and what is wrong. There is no evidence here that these individuals distributed controlled substances to children in their care. These school employees are charged, however with violating federal drug laws, and that is something that we in Dade County cannot tolerate in our school employees.”
The statutory maximum penalties for these offenses are twenty (20) years’ imprisonment and a $1,000,000 fine for each count of possession of OxyContin with intent to distribute and conspiracy to do so; four years’ imprisonment and a $250,000 fine for each count of acquiring or obtaining possession of OxyContin by misrepresentation and fraud; and ten (10) years’ imprisonment and a $250,000 fine for health care fraud and conspiracy commit health care fraud.