Prescription drugs are meant for the person who they were prescribed to, in the amount allowed. You can go to jail, pay fines, or be convicted, for abuse, distribution, or unauthorized use of drugs. Every state has a different way of addressing illegal prescription drug use. If you have too many illegal drugs in your possession, it can cascade into drug distribution and possession. If that happens, you need an NYC criminal attorney to help.
Over the last few years, the DEA is focused on stopping the sale and distribution of prescription medication. They want to stop the illegal distributions of drugs like oxycodone, percocet, hydrocodone, and others. Many healthcare professionals, and users, have come under the microscope. An allegation of fraud, or intent to distribute, can ruin your reputation.
You could be charged with wire fraud, mail fraud, health care fraud, security fraud, and face other federal charges.
When investigating federal drug fraud, or illegal distribution, the Federal Government will look at things like prescriptions filed, patient records, records from the pharmacy, and a wide array of other data about the doctor, the pharmacy, and patients. They’ll speak to your employees, and patients. They may even come during normal business hours, during their investigation. In some cases, you’ll be issued a grand jury subpoena, for records, or testimony pertaining to your business. It’s critical during these stressful times, you hire an NYC criminal lawyer to help. Our former prosecutors have years of experience – helping you at every step of your investigation.
Prescription Drug Fraud Punishments
Prescription drug fraud cases are prosecuted as health care fraud cases, and illegal drug distribution cases. Healthcare fraud cases have a maximum penalty of 10 years, whereas illegal drug distribution laws have a penalty as much as life imprisonment and a $1,000,000 fine. Illegal drug distribution has been used to help prosecutors provide severe penalties to healthcare professionals who are distributing prescription medicine which was not medically necessary. Under Title 21, Section 841, it’s illegal for anyone to intentionally distribute a controlled substance – unless it’s done so under the regulations of the laws. That means doctors and pharmacies are under scrutiny, since they are the agents that are legally authorized to distribute controlled substances. If the physician distributes it while knowing it’s not medically necessary – this can become a serious Federal offense.
In any illegal drug distribution case, the prosecutor will look for criminal elements that prove there was malice. First, the defendant has to sell, or give, the controlled substance – while knowing it wasn’t medically necessary. In addition, the defendant has to do so knowingly, or intentionally. Third, the defendant has to know the substance was a controlled substance. In some cases, healthcare professionals with good intentions may get in trouble – for what they thought was a good willed move to help a patient. In other cases, we’ve seen colleagues of a fraud-conducting healthcare provider get in trouble. Regardless of what you did, a conviction for illegal drug distribution could signal the end of your career. If the DEA searches your office, or home, you need to speak to an NYC criminal attorney immediately.
Other useful articles
- From Witness to Target: Potential Exposure & Consequences of a Federal Investigation
- Understanding the Federal Arrest Process: The Importance of Knowledgeable Counsel
- Federal Sentencing Guidelines: Understanding Your Criminal Exposure
- Understanding Federal Subpoenas: How the Government Can Force You to Appear
- Federal Arrest Warrant: What it Means & Your Next Steps