Charles Haman Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Cour
The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Billings on April 14, 2010, before Chief U.S. District Judge Richard F. Cebull, CHARLES HAMAN, a 36-year-old resident of Billings, pled guilty to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute Oxycontin and Oxycodone and acquiring a controlled substance by fraud. Sentencing has been set for July 21, 2010. He is currently detained.
In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica T. Fehr, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
In the fall of 2008, the Billings Police Department City/County Special Investigations Unit and Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force (CCSIU/HIDTA) received a tip of possible drug dealing activity occurring at a residence on the west end of Billings. Law enforcement learned that unidentified subjects would regularly show up at the residence, knock at the front door or call on a cell phone from the driveway. A short time later an individual, later identified as HAMAN, emerged from the residence and exchanged unknown items for cash.
In February of 2009, after the initial report to law enforcement, a physician reported to law enforcement that one of his prescription pads was stolen from his office. The physician did not know who stole the pad but provided law enforcement with the name that appeared on the fraudulent prescription. The fraudulent prescription contained a forgery of the doctor's signature on the prescription. A male individual attempted to have the fraudulent prescription filled at a pharmacy in Billings. Witnesses identified HAMAN as the man who posed as the male attempting to fill the fraudulent prescription.
As the investigation progressed, law enforcement learned of more fraudulent prescriptions being filled by individuals identified by witnesses as N.W., S.W., and HAMAN. The fraudulent prescriptions were not just from the prescription pad stolen from the prior physician's office, the fraudulent prescriptions were also allegedly written by five other area physicians. The majority of the prescriptions were written for Oxycodone and Oxycontin. Oxycodone is the generic name for the narcotic. Oxycontin is the trade marked time release version of Oxycodone. Oxycodone and Oxycontin are Schedule II narcotics prescribed by physicians for high pain relief.
On July 9, 2009, law enforcement executed a search warrant on HAMAN's residence - the same residence law enforcement received complaints about in the fall of 2008. During the search, law enforcement seized tablets of Oxycontin, drug paraphernalia, pharmacy and physician information, prescription bottles and labels, blank prescriptions, Photoshop material, CD's containing images of prescriptions, forged prescriptions, forged writings, security paper and information about creating a false identity through death records.
HAMAN was interviewed by law enforcement. HAMAN confessed to a forgery scheme which involved the manufacturing of fraudulent controlled substance prescriptions utilizing a computer, the computer program Photoshop and security paper. HAMAN confirmed he was distributing and selling the controlled substances to others. HAMAN confirmed he was also using the narcotics intravenously. HAMAN explained that several co-conspirators obtained legitimate prescriptions for Oxycodone and Oxycontin from several doctors in the Billings area. HAMAN and another co-conspirator would then scan the image of the valid prescriptions, alter the scanned images by erasing the original information and filling in new information, print the new image onto security paper, fill out the new prescription and subsequently forge the doctors' signatures to create the fraudulent prescriptions. HAMAN's co-conspirators would then visit area pharmacies and attempt to have the fraudulent prescriptions filled. HAMAN and his co-conspirators went as far as placing phone calls, impersonating treating physicians, in an attempt to convince pharmacists to fill the fraudulent prescriptions.
To date, a total of 58 prescriptions have been determined as fraudulent. The 58 fraudulent prescriptions resulted in the illegal dispensing of more than 300,000 milligrams of Schedule II narcotics. The fraudulent prescriptions created by HAMAN and his co-conspirators were filled at multiple pharmacies in Yellowstone and Stillwater Counties. The majority of the fraudulent prescriptions cost approximately $1,300 to $1,500 and were paid for in cash. The pharmacists that filled the fraudulent prescriptions did so based solely on their belief that each prescription was validly issued by a physician.
HAMAN faces possible penalties of 20 years in prison, a $1,000,000 fine and 3 years supervised release.
The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Billings Police Department City/County Special Investigations Unit and Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force and the DEA Diversion Investigators.
A copy of the Offer of Proof can be obtained by contacting Sally Frank at (406) 247-4638.