union county, n.J., woman sentenced to 70 months in prison for fraud leading to theft of $7 million in charity hIV and cancer medication
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 17, 2014
Medicines had been donated to be used for indigent patients
TRENTON, N.J. – A Union County, N.J., woman was sentenced today to 70 months in prison for her role in defrauding a charity program out of more than $7 million in donated HIV and cancer medication by using her access to a company hired to administer the program, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Lateefah McKenzie Body, 35, of Linden, N.J., was previously convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and nine counts of mail fraud following a two-week trial before U.S. District Judge Mary L. Cooper, who imposed the sentence today in Trenton federal court.
Another conspirator, Keisha Jackson, 47, of Perth Amboy, N.J., pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and was sentenced on Dec. 20, 2013, to 51 months in prison.
According to documents filed in this case and the evidence at trial:
A pharmaceutical company donated millions of dollars’ worth of FDA-approved prescription medicines – including for the treatment of HIV and cancer – at no cost to qualified patients experiencing financial difficulties. Jackson, Bryant, and McKenzie Body were all, at various times, employed as customer service representatives at a corporation hired to provide administrative support in operating the donated medicines program. They were responsible for receiving applications for the program, entering the applications into the computer system, and using the computer system to cause the donated medicines to be delivered to the physicians of patients who met certain eligibility criteria, including financial status.
As part of the scheme, McKenzie Body entered approximately 600 fraudulent orders into the company’s system, causing medicines to be delivered to Jackson’s home and other addresses controlled by those involved in the scheme. After McKenzie Body was terminated from the company for unrelated reasons, McKenzie Body enlisted Bryant to take over entering fraudulent orders. Bryant agreed, and entered approximately 950 fraudulent orders, again causing medicines, which could then be resold at a profit, to be delivered to Jackson’s home and other addresses controlled by those involved in the scheme.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Cooper sentenced McKenzie Body to serve three years of supervised release.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrew Leven of the Healthcare and Government Fraud Unit and Danielle Corcione of the General Crimes Unit in Newark.
Defense Counsel: James Patton Esq., Livingston, N.J.