BUFFALO, N.Y.--( release) U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that a federal grand jury in Buffalo has returned seven Indictments charging nine individuals in connection with the use of fraudulently issued and forged prescriptions for controlled substances. The controlled substances, primarily Opana and Oxycontin, were dispensed in Niagara and Erie counties. Among those indicted is Dawn Figurilli, the former office manager for Dr. Pravin V. Mehta, whose medical practice was located at 550-552 Main Street, Niagara Falls, New York. Mehta closed his practice in January, after he was charged in a federal Criminal Complaint with illegal distribution of controlled substances. The Criminal Complaint against Mehta alleges that he issued prescriptions for controlled substances to patients without a proper medical exam and outside the norms of professional medical treatment, and remains pending.
Figurilli, 48, was indicted along with her daughter, Shannon Figurilli, and charged with conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance and health care fraud. The health care fraud alleges that the defendants had fraudulent prescriptions for controlled substances paid for by the New York State Medicaid program.
Also indicted are James Respress, 53, of Niagara Falls; Bari McHugh, 37, of Niagara Falls; Chantel Stypick, 32, a former Mehta employee; Ashley Fose, 27, of Niagara Falls; Darlene Printup, 29, of Lewiston; Teresa Gansworth, 25, of Sanborn, a former Mehta employee; and Robert Bradley, 30, of Niagara Falls.
According to Assistant U.S. Attorney John E. Rogowski, who is handling the case, the Indictments allege that the defendants presented prescriptions they knew were false and fraudulent in order to obtain controlled substances. Printup, Gansworth and Fose were also charged with possession of controlled substances with intent to distribute. McHugh, Stypick, Gansworth, and Fose were also charged with health care fraud for using their Medicaid accounts to pay for the controlled substances.
Another Niagara Falls resident, William Henderson, was previously indicted as part of this investigation.
The charge of possession of controlled substances with intent to distribute carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. The charge of obtaining, and attempting to obtain, controlled substances by fraud, forgery, or deception, carries a maximum sentence of four years. The health care fraud charges carry a maximum sentence of ten years in prison.
The Indictments are the result of an investigation on the part of Special Agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Dale Kasprzak, Niagara Falls Police Department, under the direction of John Chella, New York State Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement (NYS-BNE), the Internal Revenue Service, the New York State Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the Niagara County Sheriff's Drug Task Force.
The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.