Suboxone Clinic Owner Pleads Guilty to Unlawfully Dispensing Prescription Drugs and Health Care Fraud
PITTSBURGH, PA. – The former owner of a Bridgeville, PA Suboxone clinic pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of unlawfully distributing controlled substances and health care fraud, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.
Terri C. Brown, 53, of Boswell, PA, pleaded guilty to five counts before United States District Judge Nora Barry Fischer.
In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that Brown owned and operated Cherry Way, a Suboxone clinic, located in Bridgeville PA, and her co-defendant, Dr. Mark Foster was a medical director at Cherry Way. Brown and Foster conspired together to create and submit unlawful prescriptions for Suboxone, Adderall and Percocet, and then unlawfully dispensed those controlled substances. Brown also committed health care fraud by submitting fraudulent claims to Highmark and Medicaid, through Cherry Way, for payments to cover the costs of the unlawfully prescribed Suboxone, Adderall and Percocet.
Judge Fischer scheduled sentencing for February 8, 2018 at 11 a.m. The law provides for a total maximum sentence of 80 years in prison, a fine of $4,000,000, or both. Brown faces an additional maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years and fines of $250,000 for the health care fraud charges. 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 is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
The investigation leading to the filing of charges in this case was conducted by the Western Pennsylvania Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit, which combines personnel and resources from the following agencies to combat the growing prescription opioid epidemic: 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, 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 and the Pennsylvania Bureau of Licensing.