Detroit Area Doctor Sentenced: 8 Years Prison
Top Prescriber of Oxycodone, Oxymorphone in Michigan in 2015
DETROIT, MI - U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade announced today that a Livonia, Michigan doctor, Fanny Dela Cruz, was sentenced to 96 months in federal prison for participating in a conspiracy to illegally distribute prescription pills, and to defraud Medicare. McQuade was joined in the announcement by Timothy J. Plancon, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Detroit Field Division, and Special Agent-in-Charge Lamont Pugh III of the U.S. Department of HHS Office of Inspector General’s Chicago Regional Office.
Fanny Dela Cruz, 73, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Gershwin A. Drain. Dela Cruz owned and operated a medical clinic in Livonia. During her plea, she admitted she would write pre-sign prescriptions for controlled substances and non-controlled maintenance medication. When pre-signing the prescriptions for controlled substances, Dr. Dela Cruz would write the name, milligram and quantity of the controlled substance on the prescription and affix her signature. Dr. Dela Cruz would not write in the patient name. The patient name was affixed to the prescription later, by other individuals. These patients were not examined by Dr. Dela Cruz prior to her issuing the controlled substance prescriptions. Dr. Dela Cruz was compensated in cash by other individuals for issuing these prescriptions.
The controlled substance prescriptions would be provided to a purported marketer, who, after filling the prescription, would sell the prescription to drug dealers for further distribution in the metro Detroit area and elsewhere. The doctor visits, other tests and the costs associated with filling the prescriptions would be fraudulently billed to Medicare.
In a 13-month period, Dr. Dela Cruz issued the following controlled substances: approximately 577,707 dosage units Oxycodone HCl; 333,394 dosage units of Oxymorphone; 35,185 dosage units of Alprazolam and 663,778 milliliters of Promethazine with Codeine. Dr. Dela Cruz was the number one prescriber of Oxycodone and Oxymorphone in the State of Michigan in 2015.
“More people die in America every year from prescription drug overdoses than from overdoses of all other drugs combined,” McQuade said. “In addition, prescription drug addiction has led to resurgence in heroin use. Physicians who divert prescription drugs to the street market are contributing to this epidemic, and we are focusing our enforcement efforts on stopping them.”
The case was investigated by the DEA, and the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the General Counsel. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Regina R. McCullough.