A.G. Schneiderman Announces Arrest Of Rochester Man For Misusing Medicaid To Sell Opioid Prescriptions
released on October 25, 2017
found in newsletter: October 2017
ROCHESTER—Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced the arrest of Ronald Lockwood, 44, for allegedly misusing Medicaid benefits to illegally fill and sell opioid prescriptions. The arrest follows an extensive joint investigation, in which the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit collaborated with law enforcement partners to uncover that Lockwood allegedly caused Medicaid to be billed over $12,000 for 12,500 Oxycodone pills and sold them to drug dealers in the Rochester area. The complaint, filed in Greece Town Court, charges Lockwood with Criminal Possession and Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, both B felonies, and Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class D felony. If convicted, Lockwood faces up to nine years in prison.
“My office is committed to fighting New York’s growing opioid epidemic,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to stop those who exploit Medicaid for their own personal gain while pumping these deadly, addictive narcotics into our communities.”
The Attorney General’s investigation stemmed from an anonymous letter sent to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) that alleged that Lockwood was selling Oxycodone pills. Together, the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU), the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), and the DEA used various forms of surveillance—including GPS tracking devices and cell phone data—to gather evidence that Lockwood was allegedly obtaining hundreds of Oxycodone pills per month and selling them to drug dealers in the Rochester area. The pills are a Schedule II controlled substance and have a street value of approximately $10,000, according to the DEA.
An investigative audit by MFCU showed that from January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2016, Lockwood allegedly used Medicaid benefits to pay for 25 prescriptions for Oxycodone and obtained 12,500 pills, which combined cost Medicaid $12,437.62.
Since 2010, Attorney General Schneiderman has launched a multi-pronged strategy to tackle New York’s constantly evolving heroin and opioid epidemic, including the S.U.R.G.E Initiative to target violent gangs dealing drugs in communities across upstate and suburban New York; settlements with health insurers to remove barriers to treatment and enforce Mental Health Parity Laws; the I-STOP system, which has successfully reduced “doctor shopping” by 90%; the Community Overdose Prevention program, equipping law enforcement with naloxone; a multistate investigation into the opioid crisis; and more.
The case was investigated by OAG Investigator Arthur Vasile and Investigator David Giudici with assistance from the DEA, the FBI and MFCU Deputy Chief Investigator William Falk and Rochester Regional Chief Auditor Thomas Clark. The case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Margaret A. Jones in the AG’s MFCU Rochester Office, with assistance from the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York. Catherine Wagner is the Rochester Regional Director and the Upstate Chief of Criminal Investigations for MFCU. The Medicaid Fraud Control Unit is led by Director Amy Held and Assistant Deputy Attorney General Paul J. Mahoney.
The charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
Original Press Release