Staten Island Woman Sentenced To 12 Years’ Imprisonment For Illegal Distribution Of Oxycodone
Carolyn Richardson Obtained Thousands of Opioid Pills Using Fraudulent Prescriptions and False Patient Information
Earlier today before United States District Judge I. Leo Glasser in Brooklyn, New York, Carolyn Richardson was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment, to be followed by three years of supervised release, for operating a sophisticated scheme to fraudulently obtain and distribute thousands of Schedule II controlled substances, particularly opioids such as oxycodone, without a medical license. Richardson had previously pled guilty to conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute oxycodone. Her co-defendant, Doraymus Robinson, who also previously pled guilty, was sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment for his role in the conspiracy on June 28, 2017.
The sentence was announced by Bridget M. Rohde, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and James J. Hunt, Special Agent-in-Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), New York Division.
Between January 2015 and July 2016, Richardson and Robinson operated a fraudulent scheme to illegally obtain oxycodone and other prescription narcotics using the DEA registration number of an active practicing physician. Richardson had the physician’s prescriber information printed on fraudulent prescription pads, along with a fake address and a phone number that routed back to Richardson’s cell phone. The defendants wrote false prescriptions, which contained fake patient identification information and signatures, and used the prescriptions to fraudulently obtain oxycodone from pharmacies. If a pharmacy called to verify a prescription, Richardson answered the phone feigning to be an employee at the doctor’s office. Additionally, the defendants sold the fraudulent prescription pads for cash. Prior to arresting the defendants, law enforcement executed a search warrant on the defendants’ storage unit and recovered thousands of prescription pills filled in false names, fake prescription pads, dozens of identifications and health care cards, and a firearm.
“Carolyn Richardson and Doraymus Robinson used fraud and deceit to fuel the opioid epidemic for their own gain and at immeasurable cost to the community,” stated Acting United States Attorney Rohde. “This Office and our partners at the DEA will continue to use all the tools at our disposal to solve the opioid crisis, including by holding offenders, like Richardson and Robinson, accountable to the fullest extent under the law.”
“This sentencing highlights how drug dealers infiltrate medical practices in order to divert controlled substances to street sales, increasing the supply of opioids in our communities,” stated DEA Special Agent-in-Charge Hunt. “However, law enforcement is doubling down on opioid traffickers; targeting traditional street dealers selling heroin and tracking down white collar criminals diverting prescription medication.”
This case is the latest in a series of federal prosecutions by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York as part of the Prescription Drug Initiative. In January 2012, this Office and the DEA, in conjunction with the five District Attorneys in this district, the Nassau and Suffolk County Police Departments, the New York City Police Department, and New York State Police, along with other key federal, state, and local government partners, launched the Initiative to mount a comprehensive response to what the United States Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called an epidemic increase in the abuse of so-called opioid analgesics. To date, the Initiative has brought over 160 federal and local criminal prosecutions, including the prosecution of 19 health care professionals, taken civil enforcement actions against a hospital, a pharmacy, and pharmacy chain, removed prescription authority from numerous rogue doctors, and expanded information sharing among enforcement agencies to better target and pursue drug traffickers. The Initiative also is involved in an extensive community outreach program to address the abuse of pharmaceuticals.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s International Narcotics and Money Laundering Section. Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer M. Sasso is in charge of the prosecution.