Cumberland County Man Pleads Guilty To Health Care Fraud, Money Laundering, And Theft Of Public Money
HARRISBURG—The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that Belinda Dietrich, age 62, of Marysville, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty on April 15, 2019, before U.S. District Court Judge Sylvia H. Rambo to one count of unlawful distribution of a controlled substance and one count of false statements in health care matters.
According to United States Attorney David J. Freed, Dietrich, a former receptionist for a solo dental practitioner in Harrisburg, admitted to forging the signature of her employer on a blank prescription form on February 13, 2017, for oxycodone pills for her mother, a Medicare beneficiary, who was not a patient of the dentist. Dietrich then had the prescription filled at a Harrisburg area pharmacy and received 24 oxycodone pills, who then converted the drugs to her own use. The pharmacy billed the cost of the oxycodone pills to Medicare, which paid the claim.
The guilty plea proceeding revealed that Dietrich’s forgeries were not limited to just one prescription. The government informed the court that between February 17, 2016 and August 2017, Dietrich forged 164 prescriptions for oxycodone and hydrocodone for herself, her family and her friends, who then filled the prescriptions at local pharmacies and shared the controlled substances among themselves. All together, more than 5,022 oxycodone and hydrocodone pill were obtained in this manner.
Judge Rambo ordered a presentence report to be prepared pending sentencing, which will be scheduled at a later date.
The case was investigated by the Harrisburg Offices of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Diversion Division and the Office of Inspector General (OIG) for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kim Douglas Daniel is prosecuting the case.
A sentence following a finding of guilt is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.
The maximum penalty under federal law for distribution of a controlled substance is 20 years’ imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a $1 million fine. The maximum penalty for false statements in health care matters is five years’ imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a $250,000 fine. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant's educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.
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