November 6, 2003
Sean Caine, 410-576-6357
WOMAN GIVEN 10 YEARS FOR MEDICAID FRAUD, CONSPIRACY TO DISTRIBUTE
Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today that a Baltimore
City woman was convicted of nine felony counts for a two-year spree
of obtaining false prescriptions in the name of Medicaid recipients
and selling the drugs on the street. After a trial in Circuit Court
for Baltimore City before Judge Timothy Doory, Thelma Hunter, 38,
of 338 South Ballou Court, was sentenced to 10 years in prison
without parole and ordered to pay restitution of $100,000.
In the fall of 2000, Hunter was employed as a housekeeper by
The Chimes Inc., a facility that cares for developmentally
adults. Hunter stole blank prescription pads and documents containing
the names and Medicaid numbers of Chimes’ residents. Over
the next two years, Hunter and some accomplices passed over 1,000
false prescriptions in the names of dozens of Medicaid recipients.
Hunter obtained thousands of OxyContin pills (oxycodone) and
other medications, including AIDS drugs, which she sold on the
knowingly using stolen Medicaid information, Hunter’s
scheme caused the Medicaid program to pay over $168,000 for fraudulently
obtained medications to support her drug business. Further, in
November 2001, after being released on probation as a result of
three convictions for selling drugs, Hunter recruited and used
a minor in her business to obtain and distribute drugs.
was convicted of nine felony counts, including conspiracy to
drugs with the intent to distribute, Medicaid fraud, using
a minor to obtain drugs and possessing oxycodone derivatives
with the intent
to sell them. Because she was convicted in 2001 of possessing
oxycodone products with the intent to distribute, Hunter is a
and therefore subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of
10 years without parole. Judge Doory gave Hunter the mandatory
on each oxycodone charge, and 5-year concurrent sentences
on the remaining conspiracy charges. Hunter also received 5-year
sentences, suspended until her release from prison, for the
other four felony convictions.
OxyContin, a time-release painkiller derived from opium, is
a brand name of oxycodone and can be addictive. Abusers have
grinding up the pill and ingesting it leads to a heroin-like
high. Abuse of oxycodone derivatives has been linked to dozens
throughout the east coast.
We will continue to aggressively go after people who defraud the
Medicaid system and those who illegally put dangerously addictive
drugs on the street,” Attorney General Curran said.
case was prosecuted by the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of
the Maryland Attorney General’s Office in conjunction with the
United States Department of Health and Human Services Office of
the Inspector General and the Drug Enforcement Administration