Prescription Drug Crimes

Federal Prescription Drug Distribution & Fraud

Over the last few years, Federal prosecutors and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) have focused their attention on the sale and distribution of prescription medication in an effort to shut down the so-called “pill mills” and stop the illegal distribution of highly addictive pharmaceuticals such as oxycodone, Percocet, hydrocodone, fentanyl and the like. Unfortunately, this desire has brought many legitimate, law-abiding health care professionals under improper, unnecessary scrutiny. Sadly, for these physicians and healthcare providers, an allegation of fraud or distribution can be ruinous to reputations and careers.

When investigating Federal prescription drug fraud or illegal distribution, the government will review prescriptions, patient records, pharmacy records, patterns and a myriad of other data and information about a doctor, pharmacy or other health care provider. They will interview employees and patients. They will interrupt or interfere with the normal course of business of the person they are investigating – not to mention cause a tremendous amount of stress and concern. They may even issue a Grand Jury subpoena for records or testimony. In any of these situations it is critical that you identify and retain competent legal counsel to help you through the process. The Federal criminal defense attorneys and former Federal and Manhattan prosecutors at Crotty Saland PC have decades of experience handling these matters and can advise you at every step of the investigation or, if necessary, arrest.

Prescription Drug Fraud: Crimes & Punishment

One of the extremely dangerous aspects of Prescription Drug investigations is that they are prosecuted not just as a Health Care Fraud (where the maximum penalty is typically 10 years) but also as a violation of the draconian Federal illegal drug distribution laws, such as Title 21, United States Code, Sections 841 and 846, where the penalties can be as much as life imprisonment and even a $1,000,000 fine.

Defining Illegal Drug Distribution

When most people think of a Federal drug trafficking offense, they think of international drug smuggling or the sale of large quantities of cocaine or heroin. While those cases do make up the majority of Federal drug cases, recently Federal prosecutors have come to use these severe statutes to prosecute health care professionals for allegations of distribution of prescription medication that was not medically necessary.

Under Title 21, United States Code, Section 841, it is illegal for any person to knowingly or intentionally distribute a controlled substance unless it is otherwise authorized under law. As we all know, doctors and pharmacists are precisely the type of people who are legally authorized to distribute controlled substances. However, if the doctor or pharmacist distributes the prescription knowing that it is not medically necessary, that distribution becomes a serious Federal offense.

Illegal Drug Distribution: The Criminal Elements

The elements of illegal drug distribution are as follows: First, the defendant distributed (sold or gave) the controlled substance [knowing it was not medically necessary]; Second, the defendant did so knowingly or intentionally; and, Third, the defendant knew the substance was a controlled substance.

While physicians, pharmacists, nurses and other healthcare professionals are bright, dedicated and honest individuals, even the most altruistic person can be caught up in a overreaching sweep or become associated with a less than reputable colleague. Alternatively, maybe an otherwise dedicated medical professional made a few mistakes or, even worse, gravely abused his or her authority in the dispensing or certain medications. Regardless of your alleged or actual involvement in Illegal Drug Distribution, a conviction will not just mean the end of your career, but thrust you from a place of liberty to years of incarceration.

If the DEA, FBI or any other Federal agency executes search warrants at your office or home, attempts to speak with you regarding their investigation or arrests you day or night, protect your rights and your future. Contact the former prosecutors and Federal criminal lawyers at Crotty Saland PC and let advocacy, knowledge and experience work for you.

Call the Federal criminal lawyers and former prosecutors at (212) 312-7129 or contact us online today.

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