Participants In Oxycodone Prescription Forgery Ring Sentenced To Federal Prison
NEW BERN – July 9, 2014 – United States Attorney Thomas G. Walker announced that today in federal court, United States District Judge Louise W. Flanagan sentenced the final two defendants of a six-defendant federal prescription pill distribution conspiracy. THOMAS FRANCIS PARADIS, 34, of Kinston, NC, was sentenced to 58 months’ imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release and ordered to pay a $1,000 fine. JESSE LEE HOOD, 26, of Goldsboro, NC, was sentenced to 69 months’ imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release and ordered to pay a $2,000 fine.
Mr. Walker stated, “Prescription drug abuse is a serious problem and my office will continue to prosecute these cases aggresively. This case is the result of outstanding cooperation between local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies who worked tirelessly to bring these defendants to justice.”
On July 8, 2014, CASEY RYAN O’QUIN, 31, of New Bern, NC, was sentenced to 100 months’ imprisonment, followed by 3 years of supervised released while his wife, CHRISTIAN NICOLE O’QUIN received a sentence of 95 months’ imprisonment followed by 3 years of supervised release on June 3, 2014. The O’QUINs were further ordered to forfeit $33,662 that was seized during a traffic stop on February 1, 2012.
CHRISTOPHER GERALD CHERICO, 26, of Sneads Ferry, NC, was sentenced on April 2, 2014, to 44 months’ imprisonment followed by three years of supervised release and JOSHUA ALAN ILEY, 23, of Longview, TX, was sentenced on November 7, 2013, to 30 months’ imprisonment followed by three years of supervised release.
All of the above defendants pled guilty to conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute Oxycodone. Investigation revealed that while CASEY O’QUIN and JESSE HOOD were incarcerated together in late 2010, HOOD explained to O’QUIN how to forge prescriptions utilizing a computer, printer, and specialized paper. Following their release from prison in the spring of 2011, HOOD, along with CASEY O’QUIN and his wife NICOLE O’QUIN, began to create and pass fraudulent prescriptions across Eastern North Carolina until HOOD’s arrest on unrelated charges in South Carolina. While HOOD was incarcerated in South Carolina, the O’QUINs recruited PARADIS, CHERICO, ILEY and others as accomplices to assist them in filling the prescriptions they created at pharmacies across North Carolina. After being released from prison in South Carolina, HOOD returned to North Carolina and renewed his participation in the scheme.
PARADIS, CHERICO and ILEY were taken into custody after being identified by law enforcement passing fraudulent prescriptions. HOOD and the O’QUINs were arrested as a result of controlled purchases conducted by law enforcement. At the time of their arrest, the O’QUINs were found to be in possession of $33,662, and three motor vehicles, all of which were seized by law enforcement.
In total, law enforcement was able to identify at least 137 fraudulent prescriptions that were filled at pharmacies in 23 counties across North Carolina as a part of this conspiracy, resulting in the distribution of over 16,000 Oxycodone pills.
District 3B District Attorney Scott Thomas said, “Illegal possession and distribution of prescription pain pills is a major threat. It leads to addiction, theft, violence, injury and even death. Law enforcement agencies and prosecutors are working together at the local, state and federal levels to fight these crimes. Every drug dealer sentenced to prison results in fewer pills in our communities. We will continue to conduct investigations and prosecutions targeting these offenders who engage in these activities.”
Investigation of this case was conducted by the Cape Carteret Police Department, Carteret County Sheriff’s Office, Cary Police Department, Craven County Sheriff’s Office, Greenville Police Department, Havelock Police Department, Holly Ridge Police Department, Jacksonville Police Department, Naval Criminal Investigative Service, New Bern Police Department, Onslow County Sheriff’s Office, Pamlico County Sheriff’s Office, Pitt County Sheriff’s Office, State Bureau of Investigation, Surf City Police Department, and the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office. Special Assistant United States Attorney Augustus Willis represented the government and was assisted in this case by Special Assistant United States Attorney Glenn Perry. Mr. Willis is a prosecutor with the District 3-B District Attorney’s Office encompassing Carteret, Craven and Pamlico Counties, while Mr. Perry is a prosecutor with the District 3-A District Attorney’s Office serving Pitt County. District Attorneys Scott Thomas and Kimberly Robb have assigned them to the United States Attorney’s Office to prosecute federal Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force criminal matters. Their positions are funded through a grant provided by the Governor’s Crime Commission.
In addition to the District Attorney’s Offices of Districts 3-A and 3-B, the prosecution of this matter was also assisted by the District Attorney’s Offices of Districts 4-B (Duplin, Jones, Onslow and Sampson) and 10 (Wake).