EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSDRUG TRAFFICKING SCHEME
from Eyewitness News Online
Dozens Charged In Health Care Fraud, Drug Trafficking Scheme
Reported by: Tiersa Davis
Web Producer: Jeff Morris
Reported: Mar. 21, 2013 1:04 PM EDT
Updated: Mar. 21, 2013 2:08 PM EDT
Portsmouth , Scioto County , Ohio
Dozens are facing charges in a multi-state health care fraud and drug trafficking scheme that authorities said reached from Detroit to southern Ohio.
Among those charged are five people from Scioto County, Ohio.
The indictment charges 44 people, including doctors, pharmacists and home health agency owners, in a drug conspiracy to traffic prescription pills and defraud health care, according to a news release from U.S Attorney Barbara McQuade.
Charged in the indictment were William Ashley Smith, Robert Scott Dials, 25, Nathan Reed, all of Portsmouth, Cherish Lewis, 26, and Josh Barnes, 33, both of Wheelersburg.
The indictment alleges that home health agencies would recruit "marketers," or patients, to bill their insurance for services that were unneeded or never received. The indictment said the health care owners, pharmacies and recruiters would conspire to distribute pills, the release said.
During the announcement on Wednesday, Portsmouth Police Chief Robert Ware said Portsmouth is along a corridor of U.S. Route 23 better known as the drug pipeline.
"The flow of drugs from Detroit to Portsmouth and to neighboring cities such as Huntington, W.Va., has changed lives and communities forever," Ware said. "Behind the scenes are some very dedicated, hardworking officers, deputies, state troopers, federal agents and prosecutors working together to bring justice to those poisoning our communities. What you have before you today is the culmination of some of those joint efforts to curb the flow of illegal drugs into our neighborhoods.”
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