New York Nurse Pleads Guilty to Identity Theft, Fraud in Opioid Distribution Scheme
New York, NY(Law Firm Newswire) Otober 28, 2019 – A former registered nurse pled guilty to multiple felony counts in New York federal court in a conspiracy to distribute opioids with a doctor.
Sarah Brown, 42, admitted to aggravated identity theft, health care fraud, conspiring to distribute controlled substances and obstruction of justice. All of the charges are felonies. She faces at least two years in prison for aggravated identity theft and up to 20 years for the remaining charges.
Brown’s co-conspirator was Dr. Myra Mabry, 50, an obstetrician-gynecologist who practiced in Catskill and Hudson. She pled guilty to the same felony charges as Brown in August.
As part of her guilty plea, Brown admitted to working with Mabry from 2015 to 2017 to illegally procure morphine, hydromorphone and oxycodone from pharmacies. The federal prosecutor’s office said Brown impersonated Mabry’s patients with the knowledge that health care benefits programs would pay for the medications.
“Law enforcement agencies at both the state and federal levels are devoting more resources to cracking down on identify theft,” commented Peter Brill, a New York criminal defense attorney with Brill Legal Group, who is not involved with the case. “Additionally, doctors and pharmacists are being targeted for prescription fraud investigations in response to the nation’s growing addiction to prescription drugs. Those facing identity theft or fraud charges should seek an experienced defense lawyer who can protect their rights and ensure the worst penalties are avoided.”
Investigators found that starting in May 2015 Mabry issued around 50 oxycodone prescriptions to a person identified in court documents as having the initials A.A. The prescriptions were filled at Price Chopper pharmacies in Catskill and Leeds. However, A.A. testified she only visited Mabry once for a routine pregnancy checkup and never received an oxycodone prescription from her.
After examining photos, pharmacy workers confirmed A.A. did not collect the prescription. Another woman who was referred to as S.B. in the criminal complaint against Mabry picked it up. Although Mabry’s criminal complaint did not name Brown, the allegations leveled against S.B. corresponded to the details of Brown’s guilty plea.
Federal prosecutors said Brown also admitted she attempted to obstruct a federal investigation by providing false testimony to a grand jury to make it seem like she blackmailed Mabry into giving her the prescriptions. In fact, Mabry willingly participated in the opioid distribution conspiracy. The nurse said Mabry hoped to minimize her own criminal exposure and retain her medical license by paying Brown for the false testimony.
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