U.S. Attorney Robert E. O'Neill announced Wednesday the culmination of a nine-defendant prescription fraud ring case in Southwest Florida.
The following defendants, all residents of Lee County, were sentenced to federal imprisonment, respectively, for conspiring to distribute oxycodone, methadone, and alprazolam, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office.
■ Jason Bergin, 35, sentenced to 15 years on March 7
■ Robert Powner, 57, sentenced to 11 years on March 7
■ Susan Hamilton, 51, sentenced to 10 years on May 24, 2010
■ Julie Becker, 35, sentenced to five years on March 29, 2010
■ Matthew Gross, 32, sentenced to five years on Aug. 3, 2010
■ Jarrett Sprafka, 31, sentenced to six and a half years on April 19, 2010
■ Carey Bergin, 37, sentenced to six and a half years on March 9
■ Shandy Albert, 34, sentenced to six and a half years on June 22, 2010
■ Theresa Martinez, 47, sentenced to sixyears on April 26, 2010
This case involved fraudulent prescriptions that were passed in local pharmacies, which enabled the defendants in the conspiracy to obtain thousands of highly addictive pain medication pills, mostly Oxycodone. According to court documents, the defendants provided local pharmacies with a false telephone number, whereby one of the conspirators pretended to be a physician’s office in order to verify the fraudulent prescriptions. The heads of the drug organization, Jason and Carey Bergin, then sold a large number of the pills for profit.
This case was investigated by agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration Task Force and prosecuted by Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicole Waid and Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas Molloy.
“We are combining our resources, at every level possible,” said U.S. Attorney Robert O’Neill. “By sharing broader intelligence, information, and investigative strategies among our law enforcement partners, we will aggressively investigate and prosecute these types of crimes.”
This announcement comes following a meeting Tuesday regarding the investigation and prosecution of prescription fraud and "pill mill" criminal activity that has plagued Southwest Florida. Representatives of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Florida Department of Health, Lee County Sheriff's Office, Cape Coral Police Department, Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, Collier County Sheriff's Department, Naples Police Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, and Florida Department of Law Enforcement met at the U.S. Attorney's Office to
coordinate combating this serious crime, according to the news release.