Eight New Orleans-Area Defendants Plead Guilty to Scheme to Possess Oxycodone by Fraud; Six of the Eight Also Plead Guilty to Scheme to Possess with Intent to Distribute Oxycodone on the Black Market
Prescription Drug Diversion Conspiracy Resulted in Approximately 10,000 Oxycodone Pills on the Black Market
Eight New Orleans, Louisiana-area defendants have pleaded guilty for their participation in a conspiracy to obtain oxycodone through fraud by using fictitious prescriptions. Six of the eight defendants have also pleaded guilty for the roles in a scheme to possess with intent to distribute oxycodone on the black market.
Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Peter G. Strasser of the Eastern District of Louisiana, Special Agent in Charge Eric J. Rommal of the FBI’s New Orleans Field Office, Special Agent in Charge C.J. Porter of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General’s (HHS-OIG) Dallas Field Office and Special Agent in Charge Stephen G. Azzam of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)’s New Orleans Field Division made the announcement.
“Driven by greed and addiction, these eight defendants manipulated a system established to assist patients with legitimate medical conditions,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Rommal. “Through their illicit gains, these defendants contributed to the daily oxycodone epidemic taking this nation by storm. By removing these defendants from our streets and communities, the FBI, in conjunction with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners were able to take the drugs out of an addict’s hands and hopefully save a life or two.”
The charges stem from the defendants’ involvement in a prescription drug diversion conspiracy in the greater New Orleans area. The conspiracy in total resulted in the diversion of approximately 10,000 oxycodone pills on the black market.
U.S. District Judge Lance M. Africk for the Eastern District of Louisiana set sentencing for Cabrera, Skeldon, Free, Doubleday and Swan on Jan. 24, 2019, and for Doubleday, Foret and Wildenfels on Feb. 7, 2019.
This case was investigated by the FBI, HHS-OIG, the DEA and the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office. Trial Attorney Jared Hasten of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Myles Ranier of the Eastern District of Louisiana are prosecuting the case.
The Criminal Division’s Fraud Section leads the Medicare Fraud Strike Force. Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in 12 cities across the country, has charged nearly 4,000 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $14 billion.