VA: Physician Sentenced to Prison for Extensive “Pill Mill” Scheme

DOJ Press Release –

A former Fairfax doctor was sentenced today to seven years in prison for leading and organizing an extensive and illegal prescription distribution conspiracy and a related health care fraud scheme.

According to court documents, Dr. Felicia Lyn Donald, 65, of Great Falls, organized, led, and operated a prescription “pill mill” from at least April 2016 through April 2020. Donald practiced medicine at For Women OB/GYN Associates and NOVA Addiction Center. Donald distributed over 1.2 million milligrams (mg) of Schedule II opioids at or above the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guideline for dosages that a practitioner should avoid, with a total street value of over $1.2 million, and illegally distributed at least 325,190 mg of oxycodone and other Schedule II controlled substances. Donald also committed health care fraud on numerous occasions in furtherance of her scheme.

“Donald flagrantly betrayed the public’s trust in the medical profession by unlawfully distributing highly addictive and potentially lethal drugs to patients and other individuals,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “The Eastern District of Virginia will continue to prosecute doctors who abandon their medical oath and hold them accountable for choosing profits over patients’ lives.”

Donald admitted that she prescribed opioids to addicts and/or drug dealers who had traveled from out-of-state or long distances to her practice; individuals that informed Donald of their pending drug charges; individuals who Donald knew had failed urine toxicology screens; individuals who Donald knew were selling the pills that she prescribed to them; individuals who received from Donald opioids and alprazolam, which Donald admitted is a dangerous combination of drugs that could have killed or caused serious bodily injury to the ultimate users; paying certain employees, in part, with opioid prescriptions rather than through pay checks; and giving blank prescriptions to certain members of her medical office staff and other co-conspirators for their personal use.

Donald attempted to conceal her patterns of illegal prescribing by falsifying medical records to make it appear as though individuals who were never her patients received examinations and medical care, when in fact they had not, and engaging in Medicaid fraud. Donald fraudulently issued prescriptions to others in the names of at least nine unwitting individuals, none of whom were her patients. Donald also issued prescriptions for high doses of oxycodone to multiple women who were pregnant.

Following her guilty plea on May 4, the Court revoked Donald’s pretrial release on August 7 after the government learned and produced evidence indicating that Donald violated numerous conditions of her release pending sentencing, including: 1) Donald admitted that she “made it up” when informing the FBI and jail officials during her arrest that she was exposed to COVID-19; 2) Donald continued to practice medicine for profit; 3) Donald repeatedly communicated with co-conspirators following her guilty plea; 4) Donald made a false certification under penalty of perjury on May 16 to the Small Business Administration (SBA) to obtain a loan in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, including failing to inform the SBA about her guilty plea; and 5) Donald fraudulently used SBA loan and/or Cares Act Paycheck Protection Program COVID-19 loans to fund her personal-related expenses, including thousands of dollars in legal fees related to this case.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; James A. Dawson, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office Criminal Division; and Maureen R. Dixon, Special Agent in Charge of the Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema.

First Assistant U.S. Attorney Raj Parekh and Assistant U.S. Attorney Monika Moore prosecuted the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:20-cr-100.

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