Fredericksburg Woman Sentenced to 148 Months for Trafficking Illegal Pain Medication from Her Home
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Donna M. George, 47, of Fredericksburg, Va., was sentenced to 148 months in prison today for conspiring to sell thousands of highly addictive pain medications. She made these drug deals in public parking lots, in front of children, and from her home in a gated community. In addition to being sentenced to prison time, the United States forfeited approximately $390,000 in money and assets.
Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Shawn Henry, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office, made the announcement.
“There’s no difference between dealing heroin on the street and dealing prescription drugs containing a powerfully addictive heroin synthetic,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride. “Pain medications can be more addictive than heroin when 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 was convicted by a jury on January 27, 2010 on one count of conspiring to distribute oxycodone and two counts of distribution of oxycodone.
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. She also fraudulently obtained over 20,000 other pills from several doctors during the course of a scheme in which she engaged in “doctor shopping,” that is, unnecessarily obtaining pills from multiple doctors at one time, none of whom are aware of the others. Testimony at trial showed that Mrs. George was the main, street-level distributer for the schemes, 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 of the pills from the prescription fraud scheme, 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, a gun shop, 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.