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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Columbia

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Former Hospital Employee Indicted on Federal Charges Involving Forged Prescriptions for Oxycodone

Defendant Allegedly Took Blank Prescription Pad Belonging to Co-Worker

            WASHINGTON – Sherrell Washington, 30, a former hospital employee, was indicted today on federal charges alleging that she forged prescriptions taken from her workplace to obtain oxycodone, announced U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips, Karl C. Colder, Special Agent in Charge of the Washington Division Office of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and Peter Newsham, Interim Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).

            Washington, of Washington, D.C., was indicted by a grand jury in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on eight counts of distribution of oxycodone and eight counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud. She will be arraigned at a later date.

            According to the government’s evidence, at the time of the conduct alleged in the indictment, Washington was an administrative assistant at Medstar Georgetown University Hospital. She is accused of forging and filling prescriptions for oxycodone in eight separate instances, from April 20 through June 13, 2016, involving a total of 600 pills. Washington allegedly forged the prescriptions by using a blank pad belonging to a nurse-practitioner.

            Washington was arrested on Aug. 12, 2016, and initially was charged in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. She pleaded not guilty in that case, which will now be dismissed as the matter is moved to U.S. District Court.

            Opioids historically have been used as painkillers, but they also have great potential for misuse. Repeated use of opioids greatly increases the risk of developing an opioid use disorder. While these medicines have a legitimate medical use for alleviating pain, they are in such great demand that opioids and heroin are now the number one drug threat to our region and to the nation. The Justice Department is taking a three-fold approach to the epidemic:  1) prevent further tragedies by raising awareness regarding the opioid and heroin epidemic; 2) focus on enforcement priorities and highlight best practices; and 3) deploy resources for treatment.

            An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of criminal laws and every defendant is presumed innocent until, and unless, proven guilty.

            In announcing the indictment, U.S. Attorney Phillips, Special Agent in Charge Colder, and Interim Chief Newsham commended the work of those who investigated the case from the DEA and MPD. They also acknowledged the work of Assistant U.S. Attorney Jillian Willis, who handled the Superior Court matter, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jamila Hodge and Vincent W. Caputy, who are prosecuting the federal charges.

Health Care Fraud
Press Release Number: 
Updated October 12, 2016