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Successful Defense of Obtaining Controlled Substances by Fraud (Prescription Drugs)

Facts

The client was a young man who worked in an urgent care clinic. He was also a part time student studying to become a physician's assistant. Over the course of two years, he was diverting (that is, taking without permission) a large number of prescription pain medications from the clinic, including Oxycodone, Demerol, Vicodin, Percoset, Dilaudid and Demerol. He was accused of falsifying the records of the clinic to make it appear as though clinic patients were receiving the medications. He was arrested by Special Agents of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Criminal Charges Brought

The client was charged with Obtaining a Controlled Substance by Fraud, a third degree felony. He was facing jail time and fines.

My Approach

The client was a hard working young man with a future ahead of him in the medical field. Although he had diverted some prescription drugs for his own use, it became clear that the clinic was not well run and even the doctors occasionally took pain medication for themselves, which was never documented. As such, all the unaccounted for medication that had gone missing over the course of two years was blamed on him. There were other, more serious irregularities that that had been going on at the clinic, including insurance fraud. The client explained all of the clinic irregularities (and other illegal activity) to the Agents of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. The client was well prepared by me for the proffer session with the Agents.

Negotiations

The prosecutor at first did not believe the client and was contemplating adding additional criminal charges, including a scheme to defraud the clinic. After extensive negotiations, the prosecutor finally agreed to a deferred prosecution agreement in which the client would perform 75 hours of community service, stay in school and continue working. After two years, the matter will be completely dismissed.

Final Analysis

A very good result was reached, considering that, at the outset, the client was facing jail time, fines, a criminal record. After many months of negotiations and an exhaustive review of the evidence, the prosecutor was finally convinced that the clinic was poorly run and that to prosecute the client would mean the ruination of his life. This was a case that took time to persuade the prosecutor to take a chance on a young man who had broken the law, but had been working in an unprofessional atmosphere in which many had been engaged in wrongdoing.

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