PROVIDENCE – Five individuals have been charged by way of federal criminal complaints filed in U.S. District Court in Providence for their alleged participation in a conspiracy to create fraudulent prescriptions for opioid pills and, at times, unlawfully pay for the prescriptions with the use of medical insurance. It is alleged that often times the pills were distributed to others in return for cash payments.
Acting United States Attorney Stephen G. Dambruch and Jeffrey Ebersole Resident Agent in Charge, Food and Drug Administration Office of Criminal Investigations (FDA-OCI) announced the filing of criminal complaints charging Robert Rose, 51, David Rose, 58, and Tammy Bonham, 53, of Providence, Victoria Coccia-Rose, 28, of Pawtucket, and Michael Slonski, 47 of Johnston, with conspiracy to unlawfully acquire or obtain possession of a controlled substance by fraud, to distribute a controlled substance, to commit healthcare fraud and to commit aggravated identity theft.
Acting United States Attorney Stephen G. Dambruch said, “Earlier this week this office announced the arrest of more than two-dozen people who allegedly contributed to the addiction epidemic that is sweeping through Rhode Island by allegedly distributing hundreds of kilograms of fentanyl and cocaine. The arrests announced today highlight yet another scheme to profit from the addiction epidemic. Law enforcement on every level will continue to work together to identify, investigate, arrest and prosecute these traffickers and schemers.”
“Opioid addiction and the resulting overdoses and deaths are an enormous national crisis,” said Jeffrey J. Ebersole, Special Agent in Charge, FDA Office of Criminal Investigations’ New York Field Office. “Our office will continue to pursue and bring to justice those who distribute illegally obtained opioids from outside the legitimate supply chain and make them available to U.S. consumers.”
According to court documents, it is alleged that an investigation by members of the Rhode Island FDA-OIC task force determined that participants of the scheme manufactured fraudulent prescriptions utilizing the identities, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) identification numbers and signatures of medical practitioners without their consent. Prescriptions for varying amounts of oxycodone pills were written and presented to pharmacies by some members of the conspiracy and others working at the direction of the conspirators. It is alleged that the scheme often times included the fraudulent use of medical insurance to pay pharmacies for the illicit prescriptions. Most of the oxycodone pills gained with the use of fraudulent prescriptions were sold to others for distribution.
According to court documents, it is alleged that as part of the scheme, the alleged leader of the conspiracy, Robert Rose, paid for individuals’ identities, health care insurance information, and for various prescribing medical practitioners’ names and DEA numbers. Rose provided that information to another member of the conspiracy, along with special paper necessary to produce the fraudulent prescriptions. At times, it is alleged, Robert Rose ran the conspiracy while incarcerated at the Adult Correctional Institution.
Robert Rose made an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Providence on Thursday and was released on unsecured bond. David Rose, Tammy Bonham and Michael Slonski made initial appearances in U.S. District Court on October 17, 2017, and were released on unsecured bond. Victoria Coccia-Rose made an initial appearance in U.S. District Court on October 18, 2017, and was released on unsecured bond.
A criminal complaint is merely an allegation and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Dulce Donovan.
The matter was investigated by the Rhode Island Food and Drug Administration-Office of Criminal Investigations task force, with the assistance of Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General.
The Rhode Island Food and Drug Administration-Office of Criminal Investigations task force consists of investigators from FDA-OCI, Rhode Island State Police, East Providence Police, North Providence Police, Westerly Police, Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Postal Inspection Service and Homeland Security Investigations.
Additionally, Acting United States Attorney Stephen G. Dambruch and Jeffrey Ebersole, Resident Agent in Charge of FDA-OCI, thank the Office of Program Integrity, Executive Office of Rhode Island Health and Human Services for their assistance during this investigation.
Jim Martin (401) 709-5357 email: USARI.Media@usdoj.gov on Twitter @USAO_RI
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