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Maryland Woman Sentenced to 12 Months in Connection with Prescription and Health Care Fraud

Novella White, 53, of Accokeek, Md., was sentenced Wednesday to 12 months in prison on federal charges of conspiracy to obtain controlled substances by prescription fraud and participating in a health care fraud scheme, announced U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips, Paul M. Abbate, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, and Nicholas DiGiulio, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), for the region that includes Washington, D.C.

White pled guilty on April 14, 2016, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. She was sentenced by the Honorable Richard J. Leon. He also ordered her to pay $5,442 in restitution representing her share of illegal proceeds obtained from various health care plans. Following her prison term, she will be placed on three years of supervised release.

A co-defendant, Claire Elizabeth Rice, 69, of Silver Spring, Md., pled guilty on Feb. 25, 2016 to the same charges. Rice was sentenced on July 1, 2016, to a 10-month prison term. As part of the plea agreement, Rice agreed to pay $16,175, representing her share of illegal proceeds.

Both defendants were charged in a federal indictment returned in 2014. In her plea, White admitted to a statement of offense concerning her conduct. She admitted that, from 2008 to 2013, she passed 127 forged prescriptions for drugs, including oxycodone, a synthetic opiate, in the name of practicing cardiologist with offices in Northwest Washington. Ninety-one of the prescriptions were written in the name of Rice, her friend, who was never a patient of the doctor.

White, a former employee of the doctor, left her job as a receptionist in January 2010, but took a blank prescription pad from the office when she left.  White was not a health care professional and did not have authority to write prescriptions for herself or for Rice.

Rice caused the forged prescriptions that she obtained to be billed to health care plans such as Express Scripts and Blue Cross and Blue Shield. The health plans were defrauded the costs of filling these various prescriptions. White presented forged prescriptions in her own name as well, and caused them to be billed to one of four different health insurance plans which she maintained: Safeway Informed RX, Blue Cross Blue Shield, United Health, and Medco Health, which were the victims of the health care fraud charges.