News and Press Releases

United States Attorney Jenny A. Durkan
Western District of Washington

Snohomish County Woman Sentenced To Thirty Months In Prison For Aggravated Id Theft, Credit Card Fraud And Prescription Fraud

Former Employee of Dentist’s Office used Fraud to Obtain Drugs, and Embezzle $174,000+

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 7, 2012

            A former office worker of a Bellevue dentist was sentenced today to 30 months in prison, 120 hours of community service, $174,336 in restitution, and three years of supervised release for acquiring a controlled substance (hydrocodone) by fraud, credit card access device fraud, and aggravated identity theft, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. LORI ELIZABETH BOWMAN, 38, of Bothell, Washington, engaged in a long running scheme to feed her oxycodone addiction and betray the trust of her employer by charging everything from school tuition to movie tickets to her employer’s credit card.  At sentencing U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez said, “The financial harm you caused the dentist elevates this crime to a different level.”

            “Prescription drug abuse is growing in our communities, leaving heavy damage in its wake,” said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.  “This defendant damaged herself, her family and her employer while a slave to this addiction.  This case should be a cautionary tale:  if you are struggling with addiction, please get help.”

            According to records filed in the case, the DEA was notified by a pharmacy about unusual prescribing practices of the dentist – BOWMAN’s employer.  When the dentist was interviewed he said the prescriptions were forged.  The trail quickly led to BOWMAN.  The investigation revealed that at Rite-aid and Bartell’s alone, between June 27, 2010, and March 16, 2011, BOWMAN obtained approximately 1,920 Vicodin ES tablets using prescriptions in her own name, as well as in the name of her husband, brother-in-law, mother, friend, the step-sister of her husband, and even her hair dresser.  BOWMAN admitted consuming 30-35 hydrocodone pills per day.  Subsequent investigation revealed that, during the period of January 1, 2010, through March 16, 2011, BOWMAN, without authorization, had used her own name and the names of others to acquire approximately 8,580 hydrocodone pills on approximately 200 separate occasions at area pharmacies.

            The investigation also revealed that BOWMAN had made numerous unauthorized charges on a credit card that was supposed to pay for expenses at the dentist’s office.  The unauthorized charges totaled approximately $174,336 -- including ATM cash advances of $122,880; ATM transaction fees of $4,922; and retail purchases and other charges of more than $46,534.  Included in these charges were payments for private school tuition for BOWMAN’s children totaling $25,606, and charges for a family vacation in Las Vegas totaling $4,692.  BOWMAN’s unauthorized charges averaged approximately $7,924 per month.

            In asking for a 30 month prison sentence and 120 hours of community service, prosecutors described the damage BOWMAN did to her employer and his patients.  “Over many months, defendant destroyed key correspondence from medical licensing and insurance authorities in an effort to conceal her conduct.  (She) failed to pay licensing, insurance, and tax obligations that placed the dentist’s practice and future retirement at great risk.  As a result, the dentist’s patients were left without insurance to cover their dental bills, and the dentist lost his license to practice and incurred significant expenses to correct the effects of (BOWMAN’s) criminal conduct,” prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memo.

            The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).  The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Lawrence Lincoln as part of the U.S. Attorney’s Office initiative on prescription drug abuse.

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