AG Gansler Secures Guilty Plea from Pharmacy Technician
Woman improperly obtained Hydrocodone for herself, two others at Anne Arundel pharmacy
Baltimore, MD ( Aug. 8, 2012) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler announced today that Melissa Wee, 31, of Baltimore, pleaded guilty in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court to Misdemeanor Medicaid Fraud. Wee received a sentence of 18 months in prison, with all but 30 days suspended, and three years of probation. She will also have to pay $86.04 in restitution to the Maryland Medicaid Program.
"This defendant is lucky to be going jail and not the morgue," said Attorney General Gansler. "This case shows that the abuse of addictive prescription drugs can and will come with a cost to the thieves who steal them, the addicts who abuse them and sometimes, the taxpayer. Part of our job is to get that money back no matter how large or small."
Wee worked as a pharmacy technician at a Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy in the 5500 block of Ritchie Highway in Brooklyn Park. In June 2010, investigators from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration executed an Administrative Inspection Warrant at the pharmacy. The administrative inspection determined that the pharmacy's file records were missing prescription records for Hydrocodone for three patients: Melissa Wee and two other individuals, both of whom were acquaintances of Wee.
Investigators determined that between July 2, 2009, and June 10, 2012, as many as 65 prescriptions were not prescribed by physicians and were fraudulently dispensed to Wee and the two other individuals. Wee was working in the pharmacy on 60 of the 65 dates of the falsely obtained prescription drugs. In addition to fraudulently obtaining the prescription drugs, some of the prescriptions were charged to the Maryland Medicaid Program.
"The abuse of diverted prescription pain medication is the fastest growing drug problem in our country and our DEA Tactical Diversion Squad is ready to tackle this problem," stated Drug Enforcement Administration, Special Agent in Charge Ava A. Cooper-Davis. "The DEA will continue to conduct Administrative Inspection Warrants and will investigate illegal prescription drug diversion schemes. This type of illegal conduct cannot be tolerated and will be investigated vigorously by our DEA Tactical Diversion Squad (TDS)."
The case was investigated by the Office of the Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Tactical Diversion Squad. Attorney General Gansler thanked Assistant Attorney General John McLane, Medicaid Fraud Chief of Investigations Peggy Gayhardt and investigators from the TDS, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General, and the Anne Arundel County Police Department for their work on this case.