THREE SOUTHEASTERN CONNECTICUT RESIDENTS CHARGED WITH PRESCRIPTION DRUG FRAUD
David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that LINDA McDOUGAL, 51, of Niantic, SUSAN TURITTO, 53, of North Stonington, and CRAIG LEVINE, 54, of North Stonington, were arrested today on federal criminal complaints charging each with multiple federal offenses stemming from their alleged creation of fraudulent drug prescriptions and their subsequent distribution of the drugs.
According to court documents and statements made in court, from 2007 to 2009, while working for a physician whose practice was located in New London, McDOUGAL is alleged to have falsely used the doctor’s identity to call in fraudulent prescriptions for herself and her family members. The fraudulent prescriptions were for Schedule III prescription drugs, including hydrocodone/acetaminophen (sometimes sold under the brand name Vicodin), and Schedule IV prescription drugs, including alprazolam (sometimes sold under the brand name Xanax), zolpidem (sometimes sold under the brand name Ambien), and lorazepam (sometimes sold under the brand name Ativan). McDOUGAL also is alleged to have placed orders for bulk amounts of controlled substances, including hydrocodone/acetaminophen and diazepam (sometimes sold under the brand name Valium) for delivery to the doctor’s office without the doctor’s knowledge or authorization.
When McDOUGAL left the doctor’s employment in early 2009, she allegedly introduced SUSAN TURITTO to the doctor, who hired TURITTO on a part-time basis. It is alleged that TURITTO then began calling in fraudulent prescriptions for herself and her husband, CRAIG LEVINE. LEVINE is alleged to have enlisted another individual to help LEVINE obtain fraudulent prescriptions. TURITTO and LEVINE are alleged to have together received more than 100 fraudulent prescriptions for more than 5,000 tablets of hydrocodone/acetaminophen. TURITTO also is alleged to have placed orders for bulk amounts of controlled substances for delivery to the doctor’s office without the doctor’s knowledge or authorization.
McDOUGAL, TURITTO and LEVINE are each charged with the illegal distribution of various controlled substances; obtaining controlled substances by misrepresentation, fraud, deception, or subterfuge; health care fraud, and making false statements relating to a health care fraud matter. Each faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years if convicted of illegal distribution of Schedule III prescription drugs, a maximum term of imprisonment of five years if convicted of illegal distribution of Schedule IV prescription drugs, a maximum term of imprisonment of four years if convicted of illegally obtaining controlled substances, a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years if convicted of health care fraud, and a maximum term of imprisonment of five years if convicted of making a false statement relating to a health care matter.
U.S. Attorney Fein stressed that a complaint is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This matter is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General. The Drug Control Division of the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection and the City of Groton and Town of Groton Police Departments have provided valuable assistance to the investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David Sheldon.
In October 2010, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and members of federal, state, and local law enforcement and regulatory agencies initiated “Operation Pharm Team” to combat the misuse of prescription drugs. Members of Operation Pharm Team include the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Offices of the Inspectors General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Food and Drug Administration, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Drug Control Division of the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection, the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Chief State’s Attorney’s Office, the Connecticut Attorney General’s Office, and members of local police departments.
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