Eight sentenced in prescription drug scheme

Russian President Vladimir Putin smiles during a meeting with foreign ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, June 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin, Pool)

Eight of nine people involved in a prescription drug scheme have been sentenced as of Wednesday. 

According to U.S. Middle Alabama Attorney George Beck, nine people participated in a plan to illegally obtain Oxycodone pills from an Opelika clinic.

“Prescription drug abuse is the fastest growing drug problem in the country. It is particularly troubling to find medical practitioners so complicit in this epidemic,” said DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge Clay Morris. “We trust our medical practitioners to heal our bodies, not poison our communities. We will not tolerate or accept this illegal behavior, and we will bring justice to those that condone this type of practice.”

Court documents show that the developer of the plan, Miami man Jean Thelomat first fabricated the plan to create illegal medical paperwork and present them to EMeds Medical Clinic in Opelika for Oxycodone prescriptions. The medical paperwork contained falsified information including fake test results, medical conditions and diagnoses.  

“From the drug manufacturers, to the clinics, to the pharmacies, we all have a duty to safeguard the public from this epidemic,” Beck says.

Thelomat, 28, recruited two other people to help him pass off these fake documents. Huntsville man Joseph McCann, was a patient at the clinic. McCann, 31, helped Thelomat in what officials call a “sponsorship” role. McCann recruited other people to pose as patients so that they could obtain more drug prescriptions. These recruits would then pay a fee to Thelomat and McCann in exchange for the drugs.

An EMeds employee was arrested after she knowingly verified false documents prepared by McCann and Thelomat. Laura Robinson of Ellerslie, GA corrected errors on the fraudulent paperwork to make them more credible and legitimate. Officials say Robinson, 46, was paid a certain fee per patient, and she also received Oxycodone pills as payment.

“Corruption at any level diminishes the hard work and dedication of the thousands of health care workers who are dedicated to providing services to the American public,” stated Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation Veronica F. Hyman-Pillot. “IRS-CI stands committed to weed out individuals who ignore the public’s well-being and choose to take the path to financial success by using greed and corruption. We are proud to contribute our financial expertise in an effort to halt the illegal sale and distribution of prescription drugs.”

Six people sentenced were recruits who posed as patients and passed off the fraudulent paperwork at EMeds clinic. 

The individuals involved in the scheme are as follows:
Jean Herby Thelomat (28), of Miami, Florida — five years in prison
Joseph M. McCann (31), of Huntsville, Alabama — 4 years, 9 months
Laura Amelia Robinson (46), of Ellerslie, Georgia — 1 year, 9 months
Quinton Michael Corbett (28), of Belle Mina, Alabama — 1 year
Mauricia Adaryll Corbett (35), of Harvest, Alabama — 6 months
Porcha Donielle Cawthorn (25), of Huntsville, Alabama — 3 years probation
Zachary Cornez Lilley (26), of Huntsville, Alabama — 6 months
Brittney Lashelle McCauley (27), of Toney, Alabama — 4 years probation
James Richard Lawlor (35), of Huntsville, Alabama — sentence pending, faces maximum of four years in prison

“This prescription pill scheme highlights the serious epidemic of prescription drug addiction that threatens our communities,” said FBI Mobile Special Agent in Charge Robert F. Lasky. “This addiction results in disastrous consequences affecting every sector of our society – families, employment, and our children’s futures. Those motivated by greed who unlawfully abuse our healthcare system will be tirelessly pursued by the FBI and prosecuted for their crimes.”

The Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, IRS Criminal Investigation (CI) in Montgomery, Opelika Police Department, and the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency all investigated this case. 

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