Virginia dentist running elaborate prescription scheme, reported to DEA tip line, sentenced
Virginia dentist ran elaborate scheme with friends, other dentists, preyed on impoverished patients, wrote illegal prescriptions for over 40,000 oxy pills
NORFOLK, Va. – A Virginia Beach dentist was sentenced today to eight and a half years in prison for conspiracy to distribute prescription opioids and muscle relaxant pills without a legitimate medical purpose.
According to court documents, Gary Hartman, 48, was involved in an elaborate scheme to prescribe opioids such as hydrocodone and oxycodone pills for his personal use and the use of his co-conspirators from 2014 to 2018.
Hartman crafted careful, elaborate plans to ensure he could procure hundreds of pills illegally. He assembled a team of co-conspirators that were loyal to him – personal friend of his, impoverished individuals that could not afford needed dental works, and fellow dentists.
Hartman would write prescriptions for oxycodone without a legitimate medical purpose, the friends would fill the prescriptions, bring back most of the pills for Hartman’s personal use and keep the remainder for their personal use.
Hartman would also write illegal prescriptions, call it into a designated pharmacy, hand it off to the co-conspirator in person or by leaving it in his car’s console, and then immediately collect the pills.
He also maintained “ghost files” in his office database for his co-conspirators that enabled him to write prescriptions without actually seeing the co-conspirators as patients. To ensure his illegal prescriptions would be filled, Dr. Hartman coached his office staff to send any phone calls from pharmacies with questions about prescriptions directly to him. He would then call the pharmacy from his personal cellphone and verify the prescription.
This practice was so abnormal, that two local pharmacies reported Hartman’s suspicious activity to the DEA – leading to the eventual conviction in this case.
This conspiracy involved 766 prescriptions written for non-medical reasons and almost 40,000 oxycodone pills.
Jesse R. Fong, Special Agent in Charge for the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Washington Division and G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia made the announcement after sentencing by Senior U.S. District Judge Henry Coke Morgan. SAC Fong thanks Jr. Assistant U.S. Attorneys William D. Muhr and V. Kathleen Dougherty for their help prosecuting the case.