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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Iowa

Thursday, July 13, 2017

National Health Care Fraud Takedown Results in Charges Against 412 Individuals

Five Individuals Arrested on Opioid Charges in Southern District of Iowa

WASHINGTON - Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price, M.D., announced today the largest ever health care fraud enforcement action by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, involving 412 charged defendants across 41 federal districts. Of those charged, over 120 defendants were charged for their roles in prescribing and distributing opioids and other dangerous narcotics.

Today’s enforcement actions were led and coordinated by the Criminal Division, Fraud Section’s Health Care Fraud Unit in conjunction with its Medicare Fraud Strike Force (MFSF) partners, a partnership between the Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney’s Offices, the FBI and HHS-OIG. In addition, the operation includes the participation of the DEA, DCIS, and State Medicaid Fraud Control Units.

Nationally, the defendants announced today are charged with various health care fraud-related crimes, including conspiracy to commit health care fraud, violations of the anti-kickback statutes and money laundering, as well as crimes involving the illegal prescribing and distribution of opioids and other dangerous narcotics. The charges announced today aggressively target schemes billing Medicare, Medicaid, and TRICARE (a health insurance program for members and veterans of the armed forces and their families) for medically unnecessary prescription drugs and compounded medications that often were never even purchased and/or distributed to beneficiaries. The charges also involve individuals contributing to the opioid epidemic. According to the CDC, approximately 91 Americans die every day of an opioid related overdose.

Five individuals were indicted in the Southern District of Iowa in two schemes involving the distribution of opioids, announced United States Attorney Kevin E. VanderSchel. Shawne Marie Widener, age 47, of Hamburg, Iowa, was charged with multiple counts of possession with intent to distribute hydrocodone and oxycodone. Mark Edward May, age 31; Chiann May Jones, age 32; Clara Ann Milks, age 37; and Jeremiah D. Jones, age 40; all of Missouri Valley, Iowa, were charged with conspiracy and distribution of hydrocodone and oxycodone. The public is reminded that an indictment is merely an allegation, and all individuals are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

These Iowa matters were investigated by the Department of Health and Human Services – Office of the Inspector General (HHS-OIG), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Iowa Department of Public Safety - Division of Narcotics Enforcement, and the Iowa Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. These cases are being prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa

Drug Trafficking
Health Care Fraud
Prescription Drugs
Rachel J. Scherle 515-473-9300
Updated July 24, 2017