Former Non-Native Employee of Indian Health Services Pleads Guilty to Fraudulent Acquisition of Controlled Substances
ALBUQUERQUE – Jason Lucas, 30, of Albuquerque, N.M., pleaded guilty this morning to the acquisition of a controlled substance through fraud and deception under a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Lucas was indicted in Jan. 2013, and charged with five counts of acquiring controlled substances through fraud and deception and three counts of defrauding a health care benefit program by having the program pay for fraudulently acquired controlled substances. According to the indictment, between Feb. 2012 and March 2012, Lucas fraudulently obtained Oxycodone and Hydrocodone by filling fraudulent prescriptions at retail pharmacies in Bernalillo County, N.M. At the time of the crimes alleged in the indictment, Lucas, who is not a Native American, was employed as an emergency medical technician at the Acoma-Canoncito-Laguna (ACL) Service Unit of the Indian Health Services (IHS) in San Fidel, N.M.
During this morning’s proceedings, Lucas pled guilty to Count 5 of the indictment, charging him with obtaining Hydrocodone on March 29, 2012 by using a fraudulent prescription. In his plea agreement, Lucas admitted that he fraudulently obtained blank prescription sheets from the ACL Service Unit and filled out fraudulent prescriptions by forging the names and DEA numbers of two physician assistants employed by the ACL Service Unit. One of the falsified prescriptions was dated March 23, 2012, and Lucas filled the prescription for 90 tablets of Hydrocodone on March 29, 2012.
Lucas remains on conditions of release under pretrial supervision pending his sentencing hearing, which has not yet been scheduled. At sentencing, Lucas faces a maximum penalty of four years in prison and a $250,000. Under the terms of the plea agreement, the remaining seven counts of the indictment will be dismissed when Lucas is sentenced.
This case was investigated by the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Elaine Y. Ramirez.