An Abundance of Lies

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Stethoscope on 100 dollar bills symbolizing financial surveillance

There’s one thing that fraudsters have definitely mastered – lying. It’s part of their job description. A former Fairfax County, Va., doctor told so many lies about her “pill mill” fraud scheme that her pretrial release was revoked after the government produced overwhelming evidence that violated many conditions of her release pending sentencing. (It sounds like she was a compulsive liar that just could not stop, even after she plead guilty to healthcare fraud.) 

The doctor, who practiced medicine at For Women OB/GYN Associates in Sterling and NOVA Addiction Center, orchestrated and carried out a prescription “pill mill” fraud scheme over four years. During that time, she distributed more than 1.2 million milligrams (mg) of Schedule II opioids with a street value of $1.2 million at or above federal guidelines for dosages. (Schedule II drugs have the potential for high abuse.) She also illegally distributed at least 325,190 mg of oxycodone and other Schedule II controlled substances. (Let’s just call the doctor what she really is – a drug dealer.)  

Dr. Felicia Lyn Donald, 65, of Great Falls, admitted that she prescribed opioids to out-of-state addicts and drug dealers who visited her practice. She also confessed to providing prescriptions to people who shared their pending drug charges with her. Some of the individuals had failed urine toxicology screens, others informed the doctor they were selling the pills. (Well, at least they were honest. Too bad she was not.) 

Donald also prescribed a potentially deadly combination of drugs that could have killed or caused serious injury to the users. And if that were not enough, she paid some of her employees and co-conspirators with opioid prescriptions and blank prescription forms. (It’s good to incentivize those who work for you but setting up an extensive drug ring is not the way to go.)

To conceal her unlawful healthcare fraud scheme, she tried to falsify medical records making it appear that some of her patients received exams and medical care. (But of course, they had not.) She also frequently issued prescriptions in the names of nine individuals who were unaware that their names were being used in her fraud scheme. And perhaps one of the worst things she did was prescribe high doses of oxycodone to several pregnant women.

While the doctor did enter a guilty plea in May, the government produced evidence that she violated the conditions of her release pending sentencing. During her arrest, she told FBI and jail officials that she was exposed to COVID-19 but continued to work. After she entered her guilty plea, she continued to communicate with her co-conspirators. (Perhaps this was to keep her scam going.) She also lied when she applied for a Small Business Administration (SBA)  loan during the COVID-19 pandemic. (She must have forgotten to inform them of her guilty plea.) Donald also used an SBA loan and/or Cares Act Paycheck Protection Program loan to fund personal expenses, including thousands of dollars in legal fees related to this case.

The good news amid all this bad news is that Donald was sentenced to seven years in prison for committing healthcare fraud. (Sounds like a fair consequence for someone who needed to be held accountable for choosing profits over patients’ lives.)

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from an article, “Great Falls doctor with Sterling practice sentenced to seven years for ‘pill mill’ scheme,” dated November 24, 2020.

A former Fairfax doctor who worked in Sterling was sentenced by a federal judge Tuesday to seven years in prison for leading and organizing an extensive and illegal prescription distribution conspiracy and a related health care fraud scheme.

According to court documents, Dr. Felicia Lyn Donald, 65, of Great Falls, organized, led and operated a prescription “pill mill” from at least April 2016 through April 2020. Donald practiced medicine at For Women OB/GYN Associates in Sterling and NOVA Addiction Center. She distributed more than 1.2 million milligrams (mg) of Schedule II opioids at or above the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guideline for dosages that a practitioner should avoid, with a total street value of over $1.2 million, and illegally distributed at least 325,190 mg of oxycodone and other Schedule II controlled substances, according to prosecutors. Donald also committed health care fraud on numerous occasions in furtherance of her scheme.

 

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Larry Benson
Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.