18 Charged in Prescription Drug Distribution, Health Care Fraud Scheme

January 6th 2017
Lauren Santye, Assistant Editor
Lauren Santye, Assistant Editor

Eighteen people have been charged in 13 indictments.

An elaborate health care fraud and prescription drug distribution scheme has led to the indictment of 18 individuals, according to a press release by theDepartment of Justice.

These separate, but related, indictments, allege the defendants obtained prescription painkillers paid by government-funded health care programs and sold them in exchange for cash. The buyers then redistributed the pills to addicts, said acting US Attorney Soo C. Song in the release.

The grand jury returned an 11-count superseding indictment charging 6 individuals: Mark Coleman, Jeremiah Davidson, Kavon Dawkins, Tevina Harris, Nicole Miller, and William Richardson.

These 6 allegedly conspired to distribute oxycodone and oxymorphone from August 2014 to June 2016, according to the release. Davidson is charged with conspiracy to defraud UPMC Health Plan by selling prescription drugs, while Harris and Richardson are charged with possession with intent to distribute oxymorphone, and with possession with intent to distribute oxycodone in August 2014.

Richardson is also being charged with conspiracy to defraud health care benefit programs in 2016, the release stated, by obtaining false pretenses and prescription drugs prescribed for others and paid for by their health care plans.

He is also charged with defrauding UPMC Health Plan, Envision Rx Plus, and Gateway Health, by obtaining prescription drugs himself and selling them, as well as paying for other people’s prescription medications issued in their names and selling their medications, the press release reported.

Additionally, the indictment alleges that on August 15, 2014, Richardson was in possession of 6 firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and that 5 of the firearms were illegally possessed. Richardson is a convicted felon who has 11 prior convictions punishable by more than a year in prison.

Indictment for this large-scale scheme also included:

  • Angela Vernon: (5-count indictment) Defrauding UPMC Health Plan and conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of oxycodone.
  • Antoinette Adair: (4-count indictment) Defrauding Envision Insurance Company, and conspiracy to distribute oxycodone and oxymorphone.
  • James Roberson: (4-count indictment) Defrauding UPMC Health Plan, and conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of oxycodone and oxymorphone.
  • Jacqueline Bauer: (3-count indictment) Defrauding UPMC Health Plan and conspiracy to distribute oxycodone and oxymorphone.
  • Mildred Rainey: (3-count indictment) Conspiracy to defraud health care insurance companies and possession with intent to distribute oxycodone.
  • Marion Randolph: (3-count indictment) Defrauding Aetna, Inc, and possession with intent to distribute oxycodone.
  • Teresa Bernardi: (2-count indictment) Conspiracy to defraud health care insurance companies and possession with intent to distribute oxycodone.
  • Donna Swigart: (2-count indictment) Defrauding Gateway Health and conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute oxycodone.
  • Jeannette Smith: (2-count indictment) Defrauding Gateway Health and conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute oxycodone.
  • John Zurich: (2-count indictment) Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute oxycodone and possession of a firearm by an unlawful user of controlled substances.
  • Jennifer Troy: (1-count indictment) Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute oxycodone and oxymorphone.
  • Chani Watkins: (1-count indictment) Conspiracy with intent to distribute oxycodone and oxymorphone.

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