A Great Falls physician pleaded guilty to organizing illicit prescription distribution and health care fraud schemes earlier this month, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Officials say Dr. Felicia Lyn Donald, 65, practiced medicine at Sterling's For Women OB/GYN Associates, as well as NOVA Addiction Center. Per court documents, she operated a prescription "pill mill" from at least April 2016 until last month.
"Donald flagrantly violated her oath as a physician and put countless lives at risk," U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia G. Zachary Terwilliger said in a prepared statement. "It is critical that those with the power to prescribe controlled substances be held accountable for their actions, and that putting the health and safety of the American public at risk is a federal crime."
Donald reportedly distributed more than 1.2 million milligrams of Schedule II opioids at or above the dosage guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Prosecutors say these narcotics amount to a street value of more than $1.2 million. She also illegally distributed at least 325,190 milligrams of oxycodone and other Schedule II controlled substances, according to the Department of Justice.
In addition, Donald fraudulently prescribed illegally-distributed opioid pills to a close associate who reportedly sold them on the street for profit. She also issued prescriptions to that associate for alprazolam pills, which Donald acknowledged can prove fatal when combined with opioids. Further, she issued prescriptions for high doses of oxycodone to multiple pregnant women.
To conceal her illegal activity, Donald reportedly falsified medical records to make it appear as though people whom she never treated received examinations and medical care. She additionally engaged in Medicare fraud, prosecutors said.
On May 4, Donald pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and dispense controlled substances outside the usual course of professional practice and without a legitimate medical purpose, as well as health care fraud. Along with having surrendered her medical license, she faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison.
"[The] guilty plea illustrates the lure of greed and making money at the expense of those in need of treatment," Kevin Vorndran, acting special agent in charge of the FBI Washington Field Office's Criminal Division, said in a prepared statement. "Removing even one doctor who diverts opioids for profit can make a significant and lasting impact in a community, especially in the lives of those affected by reckless prescribing and dispensing practices."
Donald is scheduled for sentencing Aug. 21. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Raj Parekh and Monika Moore are prosecuting the case.