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Press Release

Pharmacist Convicted of Unlawfully Dispensing Controlled Substances at Retrial

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

A federal jury in the Southern District of Texas convicted a Texas pharmacist last Friday after a retrial for unlawfully distributing and dispensing controlled substances at a now-shuttered pharmacy.

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Hieu “Tom” Truong, 60, of Houston, was the pharmacist-in-charge at S&S Pharmacy in Houston. In just 18 months, Truong and his accomplices unlawfully distributed over 750,000 doses of controlled substances, including over 500,000 oxycodone and hydrocodone pills. Trial evidence showed that S&S Pharmacy unlawfully dispensed controlled substances in bulk for cash, based on forged prescriptions brought in by street-level drug dealers.

The jury convicted Truong of two counts of unlawfully distributing and dispensing controlled substances. Truong was originally convicted at trial in May 2022 and was granted a new trial due to a change in the law following the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Ruan. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 23 and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on each count. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri, head of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani for the Southern District of Texas; and Special Agent in Charge Daniel C. Comeaux of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) made the announcement.

The DEA Houston Division investigated the case, with assistance from the Conroe Police Department, Houston Police Department, and Harris County Constable’s Office.

Trial Attorneys Devon Helfmeyer, Monica Cooper, and Andrew Tamayo of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section are prosecuting the case.

The Fraud Section leads the Criminal Division’s efforts to combat health care fraud through the Health Care Fraud Strike Force Program. Since March 2007, this program, currently comprised of nine strike forces operating in 27 federal districts, has charged more than 5,000 defendants who collectively have billed federal health care programs and private insurers more than $24.7 billion. In addition, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General, are taking steps to hold providers accountable for their involvement in health care fraud schemes. More information can be found at www.justice.gov/criminal-fraud/health-care-fraud-unit.

Updated June 10, 2024

Topic
Health Care Fraud
Press Release Number: 24-728