Fredericksburg Woman Convicted of Trafficking Illegal Pain Medication from Her Home
(ALEXANDRIA, Va) - Donna M. George, 47, was convicted by a federal jury yesterday of illegally selling thousands of pain medication pills out of her home in a gated community in Fredericksburg, Va.
Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and John Perren, Acting Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office, made the announcement.
“There’s no difference between dealing illegal street drugs from your home and providing prescription drugs to people who don’t need them,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride. “Pain medications can be similar in their effect to heroin if they are abused. We’re committed to prosecuting those who manipulate our health care system to traffic these extremely addictive pain killers.”
George was indicted by a federal grand jury on Sept. 24, 2009, on conspiracy and distribution of oxycodone charges. She faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison when she is sentenced on April 23, 2010, by United States District Judge James C. Cacheris.
According to the indictment and evidence at trial, from 2002 to August 2009, George conspired with others to help produce fraudulent prescriptions to be passed at pharmacies to obtain more than 20,000 pills containing OxyContin and other narcotic pain killers. Testimony at trial showed that Mrs. George was the main, street-level distributer for the scheme, which relied on her for the movement of the majority of the thousands of pills procured by her and her co-conspirators. Some of these pills were subsequently sold and distributed to other customers, including college students.
She often fronted the money for the purchases, kept half the pills for her own use, and then sold the remaining pills to others through transactions conducted in parking lots of drug and department stores, gun shops, and in her home – at times in front of her two young grandchildren and other unrelated children whom she was watching.
Evidence at trial showed that George was twice caught on video participating in two controlled purchases, selling thousands of dollars’ worth of oxycodone. In addition, George attempted to induce one witness to lie, and, from jail, she threatened to reveal embarrassing details about another government witness, in the event that witness went forward with her testimony. During the course of two different FBI raids, the defendant managed to conceal, keep and subsequently distribute pills that the FBI was attempting to confiscate.
Others involved in the conspiracy and were convicted previously include:
- Richard Sindelar, 31, of Fredericksburg, Va., pled guilty to conspiring to distribute oxycodone and was sentenced to 60 months in prison.
- Lisa Sindelar, 31, of Fredericksburg, Va., pled guilty to conspiracy and distribution of oxycodone and was sentenced to 60 months in prison.
- John Sindelar, 35, of Colonial Beach, Va., pled guilty to conspiracy and distribution of oxycodone and was sentenced to 20 months in prison.
This case is part of an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (“OCDETF”) investigation (Operation “Cotton Candy”), which has been focusing on the illegal distribution by numerous doctors, pharmacists, nurses, and patients of pain medication, including the very potent, expensive, and widely-abused oxycodone, also known by the brand name of “OxyContin”. This OCDETF matter, which involves support from the FBI, DEA, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosive (ATF), Department of Defense (DOD), Virginia State Police, Internal Revenue Service, and Buchanan, Clarke, Culpeper, Fairfax, Fauquier, Loudoun, Prince William, Spotsylvania, Stafford, Tazewell, and Warren Counties, and Manassas City, Virginia, Police Departments, as well as numerous other state and local law enforcement in Virginia and elsewhere, has secured more than 170 drug-trafficking convictions and guilty pleas.
This specific case was investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office, the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office and the Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office. This case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorneys Joshua Rogers and Christopher Martinez and Assistant United States Attorney Gene Rossi on behalf of the United States.A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/vae. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.uspci.uscourts.gov.