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For Immediate Release
June 10, 2003
Contact: Sean Caine, 410-576-6357
scaine@oag.state.md.us

BALTIMORE WOMAN PLEADS GUILTY IN OXYCONTIN SCHEME

Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr., announced today that a former dental assistant has pleaded guilty to passing false prescriptions in a scheme which netted over 12,000 Oxycontin pills with a street value of up to $500,000.

Valerie Rogers, of the 5200 block of Cedgate Road in Baltimore, pleaded guilty in Baltimore County Circuit Court before the Honorable Robert E. Cadigan to one count of felony Medicaid fraud and four counts of felony insurance fraud. According to the statement of facts, between March and December of 2001, Rogers fraudulently obtained over 700,000 milligrams of Oxycontin by passing 123 false prescriptions for the medication at a Kmart pharmacy. Oxycontin, a time-release painkiller, is a brand name of oxycodone and can be addictive. Abusers have found that grinding up the pill and ingesting it leads to a heroin-like high.

In statements to Baltimore County police officers, Rogers stated that she stole prescription pads from a dentist for whom she had worked, and used a key she had kept to enter that dentist's office after hours when no one else was present. She then would extract patient and insurance information from the dentist's patient files, record the information on the stolen scripts, and forge the dentist's signature. Her actions caused a loss to the Medicaid program and various private insurers of $65,895.

"Abuse of Oxycontin is a serious problem and is perpetuated by actions like those committed by Ms. Rogers," Attorney General Curran said. "We will continue to investigate and vigorously prosecute those who illegally obtain the drug and send the message that this drug can kill if it is improperly administered."

A sentencing date has not been set.

Felony Medicaid fraud is punishable by a maximum sentence of five years and a fine of $100,000. Felony insurance fraud is punishable by a maximum sentence of 15 years and a fine of three times the amount defrauded.

The case is being prosecuted by the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Maryland Attorney General's Office, with assistance from the Baltimore County Police Department and the federal Department of Health and Human Services.

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