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NY Physician Charged in Medicaid Drug Fraud Ring

Cheryl Clark, August 16, 2010

A Manhattan-based primary care physician named as the leader of a nine-person drug ring for which she wrote nearly $1 million in oxycodone prescriptions was arrested last week, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Diana Williamson, MD, is said to have written $4.39 million worth of prescriptions paid for by Medicaid, and of those, $997,128 was attributable to about 11,000 oxycontin pills in a fraud scheme, according to a U.S. DEA statement. Federal officials said she wrote the oxycodone prescriptions for patients who had no medical need for them between September, 2009 and August, 2010.

"Diana Williamson allegedly exploited her medical license by engaging in a scheme to prescribe profits for herself and her co-conspirators," said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. "In doing so, she betrayed the practice of medicine and moreover, cheated an already-strapped Medicaid system out of almost a million dollars."

Bharara said the conspiracy represents a "big money drain that fraud is to the multi-billion dollar healthcare industry."

The oath to 'do no harm' is turned on its head when a doctor's prescription pad is used for drug dealing," said New York City Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly.

 

The patients were allegedly recruited by another defendant in the case, Lenny Hernandez, who is said to have helped the individuals fill the prescriptions. He also arranged to sell the drugs to third parties.

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