PHILADELPHIA, PA — United States Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero announced that Maurice Bertrand, age 34, of Newark, DE, pleaded guilty Friday just before jury selection was set to begin for trial in front of United States District Court Judge Harvey Bartle III, to one count of fraudulently obtaining oxycodone, and one count of attempting to fraudulently obtain oxycodone.
In September 2019, the defendant was charged in connection with his scheme to present forged prescriptions written under the name of a Center City doctor whom he had never met at a Marcus Hook area pharmacy. Evidence that would have been presented at trial would have shown that in May 2019, Bertrand obtained 90 oxycodone tablets, and in June 2019, he was intercepted by law enforcement while attempting to obtain 120 oxycodone tablets.
The charges against Bertrand and 12 other defendants were originally announced as part of the formation of the Newark/Philadelphia Regional Medicare Fraud Strike Force, a joint law enforcement effort that brings together the resources and expertise of the Health Care Fraud Unit in the Department of Justice Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, and the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and the District of New Jersey. The Strike Force focuses its efforts on aggressively investigating and prosecuting complex cases involving patient harm, large financial loss, and the illegal prescribing and distribution of opioids and other dangerous narcotics. Bertrand is the last of the 13 total defendants to plead guilty to federal charges in connection with this investigation and faces up to eight years in prison.
“Stopping prescription fraud in order to stem the tide of illegal opioid distribution and addiction in our District is a top priority for our Office,” said U.S. Attorney Romero. “This thirteenth and final conviction in this investigation demonstrates our commitment to cutting off the supply of addictive drugs diverted to the streets in order to keep our communities safe.”
These cases were investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Tactical Diversion Squad and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, with assistance from the Easttown Township Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David E. Troyer.
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