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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Pennsylvania

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Owner of Opioid Addiction Treatment Practice with Offices in Western PA and West Virginia Pleads Guilty to Illegal Distribution and Health Care Fraud

PITTSBURGH, Pa. - A resident of Washington, PA, pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of aiding and abetting the unlawful distribution of controlled substances and health care fraud, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

Jennifer Hess, 50, pleaded guilty to three counts before United States District Judge Arthur J. Schwab.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that Hess founded and owned Redirections Treatment Advocates LLC (RTA), an opioid treatment practice with offices in Washington and Bridgeville, PA and Morgantown, Weirton and Moundsville, WVA. Hess aided and abetted the illegal distribution of buprenorphine, also known as Subutex and Suboxone, by completing blank pre-signed prescriptions and/or forging doctors’ names on blank prescriptions. Hess also committed health care fraud for causing fraudulent claims to be submitted to Medicaid and Medicare for payments to cover the costs of the unlawfully prescribed buprenorphine.

Judge Schwab scheduled sentencing for October 30, 2019 at 10 a.m.. The law provides for a total sentence of 30 years in prison, a fine of $1,250,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Assistant United States Attorney Robert S. Cessar and Michael L. Ivory are prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The investigation leading to the filing of charges in these cases was conducted by the Western Pennsylvania Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit (OFADU). The Western Pennsylvania OFADU, led by federal prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney’s Office, combines the expertise and resources of federal and state law enforcement to address the role played by unethical medical professionals in the opioid epidemic. This unit has investigated and prosecuted more corrupt health care professionals than any other U.S. Attorney’s Office in the country.

The agencies which comprise the Western Pennsylvania OFADU include: Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Health and Human Services – Office of Inspector General, Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations, Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General - Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General – Bureau of Narcotic Investigations, United States Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Attorney’s Office – Criminal Division, Civil Division and Asset Forfeiture Unit, Department of Veterans Affairs-Office of Inspector General, Food and Drug Administration-Office of Criminal Investigations, U.S. Office of Personnel Management – Office of Inspector General and the Pennsylvania Bureau of Licensing.

Topic(s): 
Prescription Drugs
Health Care Fraud
Updated May 15, 2019