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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Ohio

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Former Veterans Affairs Doctor Pleads Guilty To Illegally Prescribing Oxycodone

CONTACT: Fred Alverson
Public Affairs Officer

DAYTON, OHIO – Julia Immaculata Lucente, 55 of Dayton pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to illegally prescribing oxycodone while she was a physician at the Veterans Affairs medical center in Dayton. 

Carter M. Stewart, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Gavin McClaren, Resident Agent in Charge, Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General Criminal Investigations Division (VA-OIG), Timothy Plancon, Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and Jonathan Blanton, Interim Director, State Medical Board of Ohio announced the plea entered today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael J. Newman.

According to court documents, Lucente began her employment as a medical doctor at the Veterans Administration Medical Center (VAMC) in Dayton in 2008.  On November 6, 2012, Lucente used her VAMC prescription pad to issue issued a prescription for 72 Oxycodone pills to an individual who was neither a patient of Lucente’s nor a patient at the VAMC.  Further, Lucente wrote the prescription without a documented proper medical examination, which is contrary to established medical protocol.

Lucente pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of aiding and abetting another to knowingly and intentionally possess a controlled substance.

“Terms of the plea agreement call for Lucente to permanently surrender her Medical and DEA licenses,” U.S. Attorney Stewart said. “She also agreed not to reapply for a medical or DEA license in Ohio or any other state.”

Lucente will serve a period of probation to be determined by the court after the court conducts a pre-sentence investigation. No date has been set for sentencing. 

“We will tirelessly pursue any VA employees violating their position of trust.” said Gavin McClaren, United States Department of Veterans Affairs – Office of Inspector General, Resident Agent in Charge, Cleveland.

“Coordination between agencies is important in these types of complex investigations, DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge Plancon said. “The DEA values the partnerships we have with Federal, State, and Local agencies in our common goal to combat prescription drug abuse.”

“Criminal prescribers have no place in the medical profession,” SMBO Interim Director Blanton said. Partnerships like this one, where we had the opportunity to work with the outstanding agents out in the field, are an invaluable tool in the Medical Board’s continuing efforts to make sure the physicians Ohioans trust with their health care are ethical, competent, and follow the law.”

U.S. Attorney Stewart commended the cooperative investigation by the VA OIG, the DEA Tactical Diversion Squad, and the State Medical Board of Ohio, as well as Assistant U.S. Attorney Sheila Lafferty, who is prosecuting the case.

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Updated July 23, 2015