While our nation struggles with the opioid epidemic and health care providers are asked for their help, all too often some of them are the culprits who distribute those deadly drugs.
Last Friday, three Nevada residents, including two nurse practitioners, were arrested and charged in a 29-count indictment for unlawful distribution of prescription opioids and Medicare/Medicaid fraud, announced U.S. Attorney Dayle Elieson for the District of Nevada.
The defendants had their initial court appearance before U.S. District Magistrate Judge George Foley Jr. A jury trial has been set for July 30, 2018.
The opioid defendants and their criminal charges:
Robert D. Harvey, a surgical technician, 45, of Henderson -- one count of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance, three counts of distribution of controlled substance, and one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud;
Alejandro “Alex” Incera, aka Alexander Jiminez-Incera, an Advance Practice Registered Nurse, 48, of Las Vegas -- one count of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance, three counts of distribution of controlled substances, eight counts of distribution of controlled substances, one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, eight counts of health care fraud, one count of fraudulent concealment involving a federal health care program, and one count of false statements relating to a health benefit program;
Leslie Kalyn, aka Leslie Feth, an Advance Practice Registered Nurse, 35, of Las Vegas -- one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and six counts of health care fraud.
According to the indictment, the defendants engaged in a conspiracy to distribute prescription opioids and to commit health care fraud.
Incera and Harvey, using a prescription pad belonging to an unnamed physician, distributed Hydrocodone and Oxycodone to patients without a legitimate medical purpose in exchange for cash.
Incera and Kalyn further prescribed Lidocaine, Modafinil, and Diclofenac Sodium to patients without a legitimate medical purpose, many of which were billed to Medicare/Medicaid by a pharmacy that filled the prescriptions.
Harvey, Incera, and Kalyn were all paid cash kickbacks for their patient referrals to the unnamed pharmacy.
The maximum penalty is five years in prison and a $250,000 for each count of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance, distribution of a controlled substance, and false statements relating to a health benefit program charges, and the maximum penalty is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each count of health care fraud and fraudulent concealment involving a federal health care program.
The case is being investigated by the FBI, the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Nevada Attorney General’s Office Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kilby Macfadden is prosecuting the case.
This is the third indictment in Nevada since Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the formation of the Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit, a program that uses data to help combat the devastating opioid crisis. The District of Nevada was selected as one of 12 districts nationally to participate in the pilot program.
The District of Nevada has assigned a prosecutor that focuses solely on investigating and prosecuting health care fraud related to medical professionals who prescribe opioids, that unlawfully divert of dispense prescription opioids for illegitimate purposes.