MIAMI – On Jan. 24, a former federal agent was sentenced to prison for his role in an operation that involved illegal oxycodone distribution, federal witness tampering, and obstruction of justice.
Alberico Ahias Crespo, 48, formerly a special agent with the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), was convicted at trial of three substantive counts of witness tampering, conspiracy to commit witness tampering, and conspiracy to obstruct justice. U.S. District Judge Darrin P. Gayles sentenced Crespo to 97 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release.
According to evidence introduced at trial, during the time of the criminal activity, Crespo worked as part of the South Florida Health Care Fraud Strike Force, made up of interagency teams of federal investigators and prosecutors focused on combating health care fraud and health care-related narcotics trafficking in South Florida. Crespo used his position as an agent to protect and advance a multi-year oxycodone trafficking scheme and impede related federal health care fraud investigations, including investigations in which Crespo himself was involved.
From November 2016 to July 2020, previously convicted patient recruiters Jorge Diaz Gutierrez, Yandre Trujillo Hernandez, and Anais Lorenzo, were part of the illegal oxycodone trafficking scheme involving patients, pharmacies, and medical clinics. The patient recruiters sent patients to selected medical clinics to obtain oxycodone prescriptions that the patients did not need. Once the patients obtained the prescriptions, they would give them to the patient recruiters in exchange for money. The patients would fill the prescriptions at pharmacies selected by the recruiters and sell the oxycodone pills (at a mark-up) to third party street dealers.
Diaz Gutierrez and Crespo were close friends and associates, including while Diaz Gutierrez was a criminal target of the Strike Force. Crespo used his position as an HHS-OIG special agent working on health care fraud cases to protect Diaz Gutierrez’s oxycodone operation. Crespo did this by monitoring Strike Force investigations involving Diaz Gutierrez, accessing information, disclosing sensitive law enforcement information to Diaz Gutierrez, updating Diaz Gutierrez on the progress of health care fraud investigations, and coaching Diaz Gutierrez on how to lie to investigators and tamper with evidence.
U.S. Attorney Markenzy Lapointe for the Southern District of Florida, Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey B. Veltri of the FBI, Miami Field Office, and Deputy Inspector General for Investigations Christian J. Schrank of HHS-OIG made the announcement.
Lapointe commended the investigative efforts of FBI and HHS-OIG. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sean T. McLaughlin and Christopher Clark prosecuted this case.
Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or at http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov, under case number 21-cr-20005.
Public Affairs Unit
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Florida