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NEWARK, N.J. – Two Paterson, New Jersey, residents were charged separately for conspiring with a doctor to distribute opioids without a legitimate medical reason, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.
Jasmine McGregor, 32, and Jhanelle Lewis, 35, both of Paterson, were each charged by separate complaint with one count of knowingly and intentionally conspiring and agreeing with others, including Dr. Lisa Ferraro, of Hillsdale, New Jersey, to distribute oxycodone, a Schedule II controlled substance, outside the usual course of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose. McGregor and Lewis made their initial appearances today before U.S. Magistrate Judge James B. Clark, III in Newark federal court and were each released on $100,000 unsecured bond. Ferraro was charged with the same offense and arrested on Oct. 3, 2023.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
From July 11, 2021, to Oct. 3, 2023, in the case of McGregor, and from May 11, 2021, to Oct. 3, 2023, in the case of Lewis, McGregor and Lewis each participated with Ferraro in a conspiracy to prescribe oxycodone, an opioid pain medication, to individuals who were not actually Ferraro’s patients and whom Ferraro never physically examined or questioned about symptoms to determine whether there was a legitimate medical need for oxycodone. Among the patients were social acquaintances of McGregor, whose personal information was shared with Ferraro without their knowledge. Lewis also provided personal identifier information to Ferraro, including the information of her romantic partner, who was incarcerated while Ferraro was prescribing oxycodone in their name.
Over the course of the conspiracy with McGregor, Ferraro wrote prescriptions for 630 20mg oxycodone pills and 12,040 30mg oxycodone pills. Over the course of the conspiracy with Lewis, Ferraro wrote prescriptions for 19,088 30mg oxycodone pills.
The charge of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.
U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy in Newark, with the investigation leading to the charges.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ray A. Mateo and Aaron L. Webman of the Opioid Abuse Prevention and Enforcement Unit in Newark.
The charges and allegations against the defendants and Ferraro are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.