BRIDGEPORT RESIDENT CHARGED
WITH PRESCRIPTION DRUG FRAUD
David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that MARIA RUBERT-LOPEZ, 24, of Bridgeport, has been arrested on a federal criminal complaint charging her with prescription drug fraud offenses.
The criminal complaint alleges that RUBERT-LOPEZ used stolen medical professionals’ prescription pads and DEA registration numbers to obtain thousands of pills of hydrocodone/acetaminophen, a Schedule III controlled substance (also known by the brand name Vicodin), hundreds of pills of oxycodone/acetaminophen, a Schedule II controlled substance (also known as Percocet) and hundreds of pills of hydromorphone, also a Schedule II controlled substance (also known by the brand name Dilaudid). Typically, RUBERT-LOPEZ would use a stolen prescription pad to write a prescription for one of the above-referenced controlled substances, forge the prescribing professional’s signature and then present the prescription at a pharmacy to obtain these pills. RUBERT-LOPEZ, in concert with others, would use her own name, the names of friends and family members as well as fictitious names to obtain these pills.
In order to perpetrate this scheme, it is alleged that RUBERT-LOPEZ fraudulently used the stolen prescription pads of several different medical professionals to forge prescriptions and obtain at least 50 prescriptions for a total of more than 3,400 pills.
RUPERT-LOPEZ was arrested on March 29, 2012. Following her arrest, she appeared before United States Magistrate Judge Holly B. Fitzsimmons in Bridgeport and was released on a $25,000 bond.
RUPERT-LOPEZ is charged with obtaining controlled substances by misrepresentation, fraud, deception, or subterfuge, and attempting to do so, which carry a maximum term of imprisonment of four years, and making false statements relating to a health care matter, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of five years.
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 Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Office of Diversion Control, DEA Task Force members, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Bridgeport Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Michael Ahearn.
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.
U.S. Attorney Fein encouraged individuals who suspect health care fraud to report it by calling the Health Care Fraud Task Force at (203) 785-9270 or 1-800-HHS-TIPS.
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