FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 31, 2011
NEWARK, N.J. – Twin sisters were arrested today at their residence in Newark, N.J. for allegedly operating an oxycodone distribution network using counterfeit medical prescriptions, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Shirley Bass, a/k/a “Pee Wee,” and Sharee Bass, a/k/a “Bambi,” both age 52, are charged with one count of conspiring to distribute oxycodone, and are scheduled to make initial appearances today at 2:00 p.m. before United States Magistrate Judge Arleo.
According to the Criminal Complaint filed in Newark federal court:
Since at least December 2010, the Bass sisters had access to blank prescription paper that is only available to state-authorized printing companies. Using sophisticated computer equipment, the Bass sisters misappropriated physician information from at least 11 medical practitioners in the state of New Jersey and created counterfeit oxycodone prescriptions in the names of fictitious patients. The Bass sisters used a network of co-conspirators to fill counterfeit prescriptions at pharmacies across New Jersey, and they sold oxycodone pills obtained in this illicit manner. In addition, the Bass sisters regularly sold counterfeit prescriptions for oxycodone to others.
The conspiracy charge carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years of imprisonment and a $1 million fine.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration Tactical Diversion Squad, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Brian R. Crowell; special agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Ward; special agents with the Internal Revenue Service–Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Victor W. Lessoff; the Newark, Elizabeth, Clinton Township, and Toms River, N.J. police departments; and the Essex County Sheriff’s Office for the investigation leading to today’s investigation.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Anthony J. Mahajan of the Narcotics/Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Unit in Newark.
The charges and allegations contained in the Complaint are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.