News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 8, 2007
For Information Contact,
Special Agent Ramona Sanchez
Public Information Officer
602) 664-5725

Medical Assistant Sentenced for Fraudulent Prescriptions and Theft

AUG 8 -- TUCSON – Elizabeth W. Kempshall, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA’s Phoenix Field Division joined Daniel Knauss, U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona, to announce the sentencing of a Tucson medical assistant sentenced for fraudulent prescriptions and theft. Tracy C. Florez, 42, of Tucson, was sentenced on August 6, 2007 to five years probation and ordered to pay $36,933 in restitution, by United States District Judge Cindy K. Jorgenson in Tucson.

Tracy Florez, a resident of Tucson, Arizona, was employed as a medical assistant for a Tucson gynecologist, from approximately July 1, 1998 to approximately March 31, 2005. As part of her duties, Florez was authorized to pay bills of the medical practice with checks drawn upon the medical practice’s bank accounts, using the doctor’s signature stamp. However, Florez was not authorized to use the funds of the medical practice to pay her own personal debts. During her employment, Florez fraudulently paid approximately 74 personal debts totaling approximately $32,000, using the doctor’s signature stamp on checks drawn on the medical practice.

Florez was also not authorized to use her position as medical assistant at the medical practice to prescribe any medications, including pain medications, nor to use prescription pads for the benefit of herself nor any other person, nor use the signature stamp for creating prescriptions, nor to call in prescriptions to pharmacies for herself or her family members. However, during her employment, Florez fraudulently created at least three prescriptions in her name for Vicoprofen, a Schedule III controlled substance, and transmitted these fraudulent prescriptions to pharmacies in the Tucson area. Additionally, Florez fraudulently created at least 94 prescriptions in the name of her husband, David Florez, for Hydrocodone and Phentermine, Schedule III and IV controlled substances, and transmitted these fraudulent prescriptions to pharmacies in the Tucson area.

During her change of plea, Florez admitted that she knowingly and willfully executed, and attempted to execute, a scheme and artifice to defraud a health care benefit program in the connection with the delivery of and payment for health care benefits, items, and services, by forging and presenting to a Tucson pharmacy a prescription in the name of David Florez, Sr. for 120 units of Vicoprofen, 7.5 mg., a Schedule III controlled substance. These fraudulent prescriptions presented the purported signature of a physician in order to obtain insurance co-payment from ESI Scripts in the amount of $90.41 for a Schedule II controlled substance. The total loss to insurance companies due to health insurance payments for fraudulent prescriptions written by Florez was approximately $4,933. Florez also admitted that she knowingly and intentionally possessed 120 units of Vicoprofen 7.5 mg. and 120 units of 7.5 mg. Hydrocodone, respectively.

On April 16, 2006, Florez entered a plea of guilty to one count of health care fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1347(2), and two counts of possession of a controlled substance, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 844(a).

The investigation in this case was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The prosecution was handled by the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona, Tucson.

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