FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
THURSDAY - January 7, 2010
MOTHER AND DAUGHTER RECEIVE PRISON TIME FOR PERJURY
NEW BERN - United States Attorney George E.B. Holding announced that in federal court on January 5, 2010, Chief United States District Judge Louise W. Flanagan sentenced LINDA MCLAURIN BURNEY, 48, and her daughter, MARVESA LANATEE MCLAURIN, 25, both of Roseboro, North Carolina, for their perjury convictions. BURNEY received 36 months’ imprisonment followed by three years supervised. MCLAURIN received six months’ imprisonment followed by three years supervised release.These sentencings occurred after both defendants were convicted at two separate trials.
On May 7, 2008, a Federal Grand Jury returned a separate Criminal Indictments charging BURNEY and MCLAURIN. On January 15, 2009, a jury found MCLAURIN guilty of perjury. On April 7, 2009, after BURNEY waived her right to a jury trial and had a two-day bench trial, Judge Britt found Defendant Burney guilty of perjury. In early 2001, BURNEY, a CNA, began working at Roseboro Urgent Care, P.A. for Dr. Perry Reese, the owner and sole doctor of the business.In late 2001, MCLAURIN, then a junior in high school began job shadowing her mother, working in the receptionist area of the facility. Both BURNEY and MCLAURIN continued working with Dr. Reese until April 9, 2003 when North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) agents executed a search of Roseboro Urgent Care. At that time, Dr. Reese gave up his ability to prescribe controlled substances.
Evidence presented at trial revealed that the SBI had begun its investigation of Dr. Reese in December, 2002, when a patient of Dr. Reese’s approached the SBI about the numerous prescriptions for Oxycontin and other drugs he had been purchasing from Dr. Reese. The patient was taking 30-35 Oxycontin pills each day and chewing them for a faster effect – all at the direction of Dr. Reese. Based on this information, the SBI conducted four controlled purchases from Dr. Reese. The first purchase, on December 17, 2002, 45 Oxycontin pills were purchased from Dr. Reese. That same day, a prescription was purchased for Oxycontin with Dr. Reese. Then, in February, 2003 and April, 2003, two additional prescriptions were purchased for Oxycontin and Percocet from Dr. Reese. Dr. Reese conducted no medical examination and there was no pretense of medical treatment.
It was also revealed at trial thaton April 9, 2003, SBI agents searched Roseboro Urgent Care and seized loose prescriptions, controlled substances, and certain patient files. Later, all of Dr. Reese’s patient files were seized. As witnesses were interviewed, including all of the employees, and several patients, several patterns emerged. For some patients, the patient would go in and see Dr. Reese without paying any office visit fee or checking in with the front desk. These patients would simply act as if they wanted to visit with the doctor. While back in the room with Dr. Reese, he would sell them prescriptions or pills.
Other patients would primarily get their prescriptions from the front desk.Front desk employees would tell the patients how much a prescription cost, which varied based on the number of pills, then the patient would pay the person at the front desk. After receiving the money from the patient, the employee would give the money to Dr. Reese, who placed it in his pocket, and would then take the prescription to the patient. In these instances, the patient never saw Dr. Reese. On many of these visits, Dr. Reese would nonetheless fill out a patient examination sheet recording that he had seen the patient, performed various medical tests, and solicited medical information. In short, Dr. Reese was writing prescriptions with no medical basis but creating a fraudulent medical basis by filling out forms documenting visits that had never occurred.
Dr. Reese's employees were deemed to be important to his investigation, so in January, 2007, three of these employees, includingBURNEY and MCLAURIN were summoned to the grand jury.At grand jury, both BURNEY and MCLAURIN denied making statements to SBI agents in previous interviews in 2003 regarding Dr. Reese and his selling of prescriptions. They also denied any knowledge of Dr. Reese selling prescriptions or any knowledge regarding the sale of prescriptions.These statements were contradictory to whatBURNEY and MCLAURINpreviously told investigators. During the two trials, two other employees of Dr. Reese testified that he did charge money for prescriptions depending on the number of pills involved, that he instructed his employees to do so, and that both BURNEY and MCLAURIN had accepted this money on behalf of Dr. Reese and heard his instructions regarding these pills.
Dr. Reese was ultimately charged and convicted of violating Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act and drug distribution and dispensing charges on February 23, 2009.Sentencing is scheduled for the February 1, 2010 term of Court.
U.S. Attorney George E.B. Holding stated: "The American legal system relies upon witnesses telling the truth. When a witness lies, justice is threatened.Perjury makes itharder for prosecutors, for judges, and for juries to do their jobs, while making it more likely for mistakes to occur that affect the lives of real people.It is a serious crime that must be punished accordingly."
Investigation of the case was conducted by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney David Bragdon served as prosecutor for the government.
News releases are available on the U. S. Attorney’s web page at www.usdoj.gov/usao/nce within 48 hours of release.