January 20, 2022

News

News Network

Northern Alabama Doctor and Practice Manager Convicted for Conspiring to Unlawfully Distribute Opioids

17 min read
<div>A Northern Alabama doctor and her husband, who also served as her practice manager, pleaded guilty today for their roles in unlawfully distributing opioids and other controlled substances while the doctor was absent from the clinic.</div>

A Northern Alabama doctor and her husband, who also served as her practice manager, pleaded guilty today for their roles in unlawfully distributing opioids and other controlled substances while the doctor was absent from the clinic.   

Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Prim F. Escalona of the Northern District of Alabama, Special Agent in Brad L Byerly of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) New Orleans Field Division, and Special Agent in Charge Johnnie Sharp, Jr. of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Birmingham Field Office made the announcement.

Elizabeth Korcz, M.D., 47, a licensed physician, and Matthew Korcz, 47, her husband and former practice manager, both of Hoover, Alabama, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to unlawfully distribute controlled substances.  As part of the plea, the defendants also agreed to forfeit $46,181.79.  Sentencing will be scheduled at a later date.

As part of their guilty pleas, the defendants admitted to providing dangerous doses of hydrocodone to patients who were not examined by a medical professional and while Dr. Korcz was absent from their clinic.  The defendants owned and operated Hoover Alt MD, a purported medical clinic with an in-house dispensary.  The defendants did not employ registered nurses or other qualified medical professionals, despite Dr. Korcz’s absences.  The defendants admitted to allowing hydrocodone to be dispensed from their in-house dispensary while Dr. Korcz was out of state on multiple occasions, according to the plea agreement. 

DEA and FBI investigated the case.  Trial Attorney Devon Helfmeyer of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney J.B. Ward of the Northern District of Alabama are prosecuting the case.

The Fraud Section leads the Appalachian Regional Prescription Opioid (ARPO) Strike Force.  Since its inception in October 2018, the ARPO Strike Force, which operates in 10 districts, has charged more than 85 defendants who are collectively responsible for distributing more than 65 million pills.  Since its inception in March 2007, the Health Care Fraud Strike Force, which maintains 15 strike forces operating in 24 districts, has charged more than 4,200 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for approximately $19 billion. In addition, the Health and Human Services (HHS) Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-Office of Inspector General, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.

Individuals who believe that they may be a victim in this case should visit the Fraud Section’s Victim Witness website for more information.

The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice.  Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.

More from: December 16, 2020

News Network

  • Justice Department Reaches Settlement with Toledo Public Schools to Resolve Complaints of Race and Disability Discrimination in Student Discipline
    In Crime News
    The Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio today announced a settlement agreement with the Toledo Public Schools to address and prevent discriminatory discipline of students based on race or disability and to require appropriate language services for limited English proficient (LEP) parents on matters essential to their children’s education.  
    [Read More…]
  • Man Pleads Guilty to Fraudulently Obtaining Approximately $9 Million in COVID-Relief Loans, Some of Which Was Gambled Away
    In Crime News
    A California man pleaded guilty today to federal charges stemming from a scheme that used a series of corporations he controlled to fraudulently obtain approximately $9 million in loans from COVID-relief programs, some of which he used on gambling excursions to Las Vegas and transferred to his stock trading accounts.
    [Read More…]
  • Military Airlift: DOD Needs to Take Steps to Manage Workload Distributed to the Civil Reserve Air Fleet
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO FoundDOD exceeded the flying hours needed to meet military training requirements for fiscal years 2002 through 2010 because of increased operational requirements associated with Afghanistan and Iraq; however it does not know whether it used Civil Reserve Air Fleet (CRAF) participants to the maximum extent practicable. DOD guidance requires it to meet training requirements and to use commercial transportation to the "maximum extent practicable." During fiscal years 2002 through 2010, DOD flew its fleet more than needed to train its crews, although its flying has more closely matched its training needs in recent years. DOD has also used CRAF participants extensively to supplement military airlift. Although DOD has taken steps to make more airlift business available to CRAF participants, officials said that overseas operations have provided enough missions to support both training and CRAF business obligations. However, with the drawdown in Afghanistan, DOD officials expect the need for airlift to decline by at least 66 percent--to pre-September 2001 levels--reducing both training hours available for DOD and business opportunities for CRAF. DOD does not use its process for monitoring flying hours to determine when it will exceed required training hours and allocate eligible airlift missions to CRAF participants. Therefore, it cannot determine whether it is using CRAF to the maximum extent practicable. As a result, DOD may be using its military fleet more than necessary--which officials say is less economical--while risking reduced CRAF participation.DOD provided several reasons for restricting commercial carriers from transporting partial plane loads of cargo over channel routes, including the need to promote efficiency, meet its military airlift training requirements, and fulfill peacetime business obligations to CRAF participants. Channel route missions are regularly scheduled airlift missions used to transport cargo and provide aircrew training time. These missions also help DOD provide business to CRAF participants. According to U.S. Transportation Command (TRANSCOM) officials, DOD generally requires aircraft conducting channel route missions to be completely full of cargo before takeoff. The policy restricting carriers from flying partial loads over channel routes allows DOD to consolidate cargo previously flown by commercial carriers in less than full plane loads and redirect that cargo into the channel route system, where it will be transported by either commercial or military aircraft as part of a full plane load mission. According to DOD, consolidating cargo into full loads flown over the channel route system has increased both the efficiency of these missions and the availability of missions that DOD uses to train its crews and fulfill its business obligations to CRAF.It is unclear whether the planned size of CRAF will be adequate to meet future airlift requirements. DOD last established its future requirements based on the wartime scenarios in the Mobility Capability Requirements Study 2016, issued in 2010. However, due to changing military strategy and priorities, the 2010 study does not reflect current mission needs. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 requires DOD to conduct a new mobility capabilities and requirements study. DOD has not begun this study or finalized its ongoing reviews of the CRAF program's ability to support future requirements. Once they are finalized, these studies should allow DOD to better understand future requirements for CRAF and whether the CRAF program will meet future airlift requirements.Why GAO Did This StudyTo move passengers and cargo, DOD supplements its military aircraft with cargo and passenger aircraft from volunteer commercial carriers participating in the CRAF program. Participating carriers commit their aircraft to support a range of military operations in exchange for peacetime business. A House Armed Services Committee mandated GAO to report on matters related to the CRAF program. GAO assessed whether DOD (1) met its military airlift training requirements while also using CRAF participants to the maximum extent practicable, (2) provided justification for restricting commercial carriers from transporting partial plane loads of cargo over certain routes, and (3) has established future requirements for CRAF and how the planned size of CRAF compares to those requirements. GAO reviewed guidance and policies pertaining to the program, flying hour data, and DOD-sponsored CRAF study reports. GAO also interviewed DOD and industry officials.
    [Read More…]
  • Texas Physician Sentenced for Multi-Million Medicare Fraud Scheme
    In Crime News
    A Texas physician was sentenced to five years in prison today for her role in a multi-million Medicare fraud scheme.
    [Read More…]
  • Professional Standards Update No. 81
    In U.S GAO News
    To alert the audit community to changes in professional standards, we periodically issue Professional Standards Updates (PSU). These updates highlight the effective dates and issuance of recent standards and guidance related to engagements conducted in accordance with Government Auditing Standards. PSUs contain summary information only, and those affected by a change should refer to the respective standard or guidance for details. This PSU has three sections.
    [Read More…]
  • Virtual Summit of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Acting Assistant Secretary Reeker’s Travel to Lithuania
    In Crime News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Office on Violence Against Women Announces Awards to 11 Indian Tribal Governments to Exercise Special Domestic Violence Criminal Jurisdiction
    In Crime News
    The U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) today announced awards to 11 Indian Tribal governments to support them in exercising special domestic violence criminal jurisdiction (SDVCJ). The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (VAWA 2013) recognized the authority of tribes to exercise SDVCJ over certain defendants, regardless of their Indian or non-Indian status, who commit crimes of domestic violence or dating violence or violate certain protection orders in Indian country.  
    [Read More…]
  • Brownsville man sent to prison for possessing 600 images of Sugar Land minor
    In Justice News
    A 23-year-old south [Read More…]
  • Putting the public in public health: KidneyX COVID-19 Kidney Care Challenge Winners
    In Human Health, Resources and Services
    When COVID-19 hit the [Read More…]
  • Commercial Shipping: Information on How Intermodal Chassis Are Made Available and the Federal Government’s Oversight Role
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found Containerized shipping—performed by oceangoing vessels using standardized shipping containers—accounted for approximately 60 percent of all world seaborne trade, which was valued at approximately $12 trillion in 2017. At a port, shipping containers are placed on "intermodal chassis" (chassis), standardized trailers that carry shipping containers and attach to tractors for land transport. Multiple entities are involved in the movement of shipping containers, including intermodal equipment providers (IEP) (which own and provide chassis for a fee); ocean carriers (which transport cargo over water); and motor carriers (which transport shipping containers over land via chassis). Four distinct models are used in the U.S. to make chassis available to motor carriers (see table), each with benefits and drawbacks according to the entities GAO interviewed. While chassis are generally provided to motor carriers using one of these four models, more than one model may be available at a port. Chassis Provisioning Models Model 1: Single chassis provider An individual intermodal equipment provider (IEP) owns chassis that are directly provided to shippers or motor carriers. Model 2: Motor carrier-controlled A motor carrier owns or is responsible for a chassis that it has procured under a long-term lease. Model 3: Gray pool A single manager, often a third party, oversees the operations of a pool that is made up of chassis contributed by multiple IEPs. Model 4: Pool-of-pools Each IEP manages its respective chassis fleet, but each allow motor carriers to use any chassis among the fleets and to pick up and drop off chassis at any of the IEPs’ multiple locations. Source: GAO.  |  GAO-21-315R Entities GAO interviewed identified multiple benefits and drawbacks to each of the chassis provisioning models. Regarding benefits, for example, both the single chassis provider model and the motor carrier-controlled model allow IEPs and motor carriers to have direct control over the maintenance and repair of their chassis, something these entities potentially lose under other chassis provisioning models. Further, the gray pool and the pool-of-pools models can resolve many of the logistical concerns regarding the availability of chassis, leading to operational efficiencies for port operators and the ability of motor carriers to choose whatever chassis they wish. Regarding drawbacks, cost considerations were identified in some cases. For example, under the single chassis provider model, two IEPs told us that while an expected part of the business, repositioning chassis to ensure there is a sufficient supply of chassis where they are needed can be costly to the IEPs. The federal government provides oversight of chassis safety but has a limited economic oversight role regarding chassis. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) employs several inspection methods to help oversee chassis safety and compliance with regulations. For example, inspectors perform roadside inspections on commercial vehicles, including chassis, in operation. FMCSA also performs investigations of individual IEPs to oversee chassis safety. While one stakeholder GAO spoke with stated that FMCSA should consider maintaining safety ratings for IEPs—as is currently done for motor carriers—FMCSA officials told us that the current processes provide sufficient information to select IEPs for investigation. The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) oversees ocean carriers that provide service to and from the U.S. and works to ensure a competitive and reliable ocean transportation supply system. Entities may file complaints with FMC to allege violations of the Shipping Act of 1984, as amended. One such complaint was filed in August 2020, in which the complainants allege, among other things, that although ocean carriers do not own chassis, they still control the operation of chassis pools at ports. An initial decision on this complaint is expected in August 2021. None of the entities GAO spoke with identified additional actions they would like for FMC to take regarding chassis. Why GAO Did This Study Senate Report 116-109—incorporated by reference into the explanatory statement accompanying the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020—contained a provision for GAO to study intermodal chassis. Within the U.S., some entities have expressed concerns about chassis, including limited availability of chassis in some circumstances, as well as the age and safety of chassis. This report describes selected stakeholders' views on: (1) the ways in which chassis are made available for the movement of shipping containers and the benefits and drawbacks of those models, and (2) the federal government's role in the chassis market. To address these objectives, GAO reviewed relevant reports on chassis provisioning and federal oversight. GAO interviewed representatives from FMC, FMCSA, five industry associations, and the three largest intermodal equipment providers. GAO also interviewed three ocean carriers, five port operators, and a motor carrier selected, in part, for their large number of container movements. The information obtained from these interviews provides a broad perspective of relevant issues but is not generalizable to all entities. For more information, contact Andrew Von Ah at (202) 512-2834 or vonaha@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • Designations of Former Honduran President Porfirio “Pepe” Lobo Sosa and Former First Lady Rosa Elena Bonilla Avila for Involvement in Significant Corruption
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • District Court Orders Illinois Sprouts And Soybean Products Company To Comply With Food Safety Rules
    In Crime News
    A federal court permanently enjoined a Chicago firm from preparing and distributing adulterated sprouts and soybean products in violation of federal law, the Department of Justice announced today.
    [Read More…]
  • Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco Delivers Remarks Announcing Drug Enforcement and Awareness Raising Campaign
    In Crime News
    Thank you for being here today. I’m pleased to be joined today by DEA Administrator Anne Milgram to shine a light on one of the most significant threats to the public safety and the health in this country: fatal drug overdoses. 
    [Read More…]
  • Rare Diseases: Although Limited, Available Evidence Suggests Medical and Other Costs Can Be Substantial
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found According to the literature GAO reviewed, diagnosis of any disease can be complicated, and diagnosis of rare diseases can be particularly difficult because of a variety of factors. (See figure.) Although some rare diseases may be detected quickly, in other cases years may pass between the first appearance of symptoms and a correct diagnosis of a rare disease, and misdiagnoses—and treatments based on them—occur with documented frequency. According to the literature GAO reviewed and GAO's interviews, those with undiagnosed, misdiagnosed, or untreated rare diseases may face various negative outcomes. For example, a person's health can suffer when appropriate, timely interventions are not provided or when interventions based on misdiagnoses cause harm. In addition, multiple diagnostic tests, medical appointments, and ultimately unwarranted interventions can add to the costs of the disease. Examples of Factors That May Interfere with Accurate Diagnosis Research on the costs of rare diseases is limited, in part because of the difficulty of diagnosing them. Nonetheless, the costs can be substantial, as indicated by available research from the U.S. and elsewhere and the experts, researchers, and organization officials GAO interviewed. These costs—to those with rare diseases, health care payers, the U.S. government, or a combination—can include direct medical costs (e.g., costs of outpatient visits or drugs), direct nonmedical costs (e.g., costs to modify one's home to accommodate a wheelchair), or indirect costs (e.g., loss of income or diminished quality of life). Peer-reviewed studies of specific rare diseases estimated costs for people with rare diseases that are multiple times higher than costs for people without those diseases. One recent study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, estimated $966 billion as the total cost (including medical and other nonmedical and indirect costs) in the United States for an estimated 15.5 million people with 379 rare diseases in 2019. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) provided technical comments on a draft of this report, which GAO incorporated as appropriate. Why GAO Did This Study By definition, few people have any specific rare disease. But there are many different rare diseases—about 7,000—and as a result, an estimated 30 million people in the United States have one or more of them. About half of those with a rare disease are children. Often genetic, many rare diseases are chronic, progressive (they worsen over time), and life-threatening. Relatively little is known about the costs of rare diseases, either individually or collectively. The Joint Explanatory Statement for the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020, includes a provision for GAO to study the costs of rare diseases within the U.S. GAO examined, among other things, the challenges to diagnosing rare diseases and what is known about their costs. GAO reviewed documents from two agencies in HHS—the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and published literature, including studies on the costs of rare diseases in the United States and elsewhere published from 2000 through 2021. GAO also interviewed NIH and FDA officials; selected researchers and experts on rare diseases, health care, and health economics; and officials of organizations representing those with rare diseases. The organizations included two devoted to rare diseases in general and six representing those with a specific rare diseases or sets of related rare diseases. For more information, contact at (202) 512-7114 or dickenj@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • Florida Man Sentenced for Evading Taxes on Millions in Secret Offshore Bank Accounts
    In Crime News
    A resident of Palm Beach County, Florida, was sentenced to 24 months in prison for not reporting his foreign financial accounts from 2006 through 2015 and for willfully evading the assessment of millions in taxes from 2007 through 2014.
    [Read More…]
  • Rebuilding Iraq: Preliminary Observations on Challenges in Transferring Security Responsibilities to Iraqi Military and Police
    In U.S GAO News
    Since the fall of the former Iraq regime in April 2003, the multinational force has been working to develop Iraqi military and police forces capable of maintaining security. To support this effort, the United States provided about $5.8 billion in 2003-04 to develop Iraq's security capability. In February 2005, the president requested a supplemental appropriation with an additional $5.7 billion to accelerate the development of Iraqi military and police forces. GAO provides preliminary observations on (1) the strategy for transferring security responsibilities to Iraqi military and police forces; (2) the data on the status of forces, and (3) challenges that the Multi-National Force in Iraq faces in transferring security missions to these forces. To prepare this statement, GAO used unclassified reports, status updates, security plans, and other documents from the Departments of Defense and State. GAO also used testimonies and other statements for the record from officials such as the Secretary of Defense. In addition, GAO visited the Iraqi police training facility in Jordan.The Multinational Force in Iraq has developed and begun to implement a strategy to transfer security responsibilities to the Iraqi military and police forces. This strategy would allow a gradual drawdown of its forces based on the multinational force neutralizing the insurgency and developing Iraqi military and police services that can independently maintain security. U.S. government agencies do not report reliable data on the extent to which Iraqi security forces are trained and equipped. As of March 2005, the State Department reported that about 82,000 police forces under the Iraqi Ministry of Interior and about 62,000 military forces under the Iraqi Ministry of Defense have been trained and equipped. However, the reported number of Iraqi police is unreliable because the Ministry of Interior does not receive consistent and accurate reporting from the police forces around the country. The data does not exclude police absent from duty. Further, the departments of State and Defense no longer report on the extent to which Iraqi security forces are equipped with their required weapons, vehicles, communications equipment, and body armor. The insurgency in Iraq has intensified since June 2003, making it difficult to transfer security responsibilities to Iraqi forces. From that time through January 2005, insurgent attacks grew in number, complexity, and intensity. At the same time, the multinational force has faced four key challenges in increasing the capability of Iraqi forces: (1) training, equipping, and sustaining a changing force structure; (2) developing a system for measuring the readiness and capability of Iraqi forces; (3) building loyalty and leadership throughout the Iraqi chain of command; and (4) developing a police force that upholds the rule of law in a hostile environment. The multinational force is taking steps to address these challenges, such as developing a system to assess unit readiness and embedding US forces within Iraqi units. However, without reliable reporting data, a more capable Iraqi force, and stronger Iraqi leadership, the Department of Defense faces difficulties in implementing its strategy to draw down U.S. forces from Iraq.
    [Read More…]
  • Louisville Gas & Electric Company to Permanently Limit Harmful Air Pollution
    In Crime News
    In a proposed consent decree lodged today in U.S. District Court, Louisville Gas & Electric Company (LG&E) has agreed to permanent emission limits for the sulfuric acid mist that it emits from its Mill Creek Station, located in Jefferson County, Kentucky.
    [Read More…]
  • Rewards for Justice – Reward Offer for Information on the Murder of Avijit Roy and Attack on Rafida Bonya Ahmed
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Two Aryan Circle Gang Leaders Convicted on Racketeering Charges
    In Crime News
    A federal jury convicted a Texas man and a Missouri man on Tuesday of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations charges stemming from their membership in the white supremacy prison gang, the Aryan Circle, between 2010 and 2021. 
    [Read More…]

Crime

Network News © 2005 Area.Control.Network™ All rights reserved.