US dentist sentenced for narcotics distribution
A 51-year-old man named Hamada Makarita of Oakton, Virginia, was sentenced to 25 months in prison followed by a term of supervised release for using his position as a dentist to illegally distribute prescription medication and for using the identity of another dentist to fraudulently bill an insurance company for more than USD 160,000 in claims.
Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Valerie Parlave, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI's Washington Field Office, made the announcement after the sentencing by United States District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema.
On November 16, 2012, after a multi-week trial, Makarita was found guilty by jury on multiple counts to include conspiracy, health care fraud, aggravated identity theft, and five counts of dispensing controlled substances.
According to court records and evidence at trial, Makarita owns and operates a dental practice in Oakton, Virginia, and advertised online at http://www.fixasmile.com/.
From about 2007 to 2012, Makarita illegally distributed and dispensed prescription medicine (Fentanyl, Vicodin, and Valium) to patients, employees, and at least one girlfriend, all without a legitimate dental purpose and beyond the bounds of a dental practice.
Makarita directed those who received the prescriptions he issued to return to him some or all the prescribed medicine.
On multiple occasions, Makarita would distribute prescription pills to patients and at least one girlfriend in social settings and for sexual purposes.
On one occasion, the defendant took explicit photographs of an unconscious girlfriend who was under the influence of alcohol and Vicodin.
In addition, the jury found that Makarita provided more than USD 160,000 in services to his family members and billed them to an insurance provider in violation of the provider's contract.
He billed the services under the name of another dentist who did not practice in Makarita's office at that time. Makarita received more than USD 91,000 in reimbursement from the provider for these fraudulent claims.
The investigation was conducted by the FBI's Washington Field Office. Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mazen M. Basrawi and Danya E. Atiyeh and Assistant U.S. Attorney Gene Rossi prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.
This case is part of an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation (Operation Cotton Candy), which has been focusing on the illegal distribution by numerous doctors, pharmacists, nurses, and patients of pain medication. This OCDETF matter has secured more than 200 drug trafficking convictions.
(Posted on 13-04-2013)