United States Attorney Matthew D. Krueger announced today that a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Wisconsin indicted Lisa Hofschulz, 58, who is an Advanced Practice Nurse Practitioner, and her ex-husband Robert Hofschulz, 70, for conspiring to distribute oxycodone and methadone outside of a professional medical practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose through their cash-only pain clinic, Clinical Pain Consultants, s.c. (“CPC”) in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(C) and 846. In a separate case, the grand jury also charged Kameka Simpson, 43, Eric Jasper, 33, and Brittany Washington, 27, with multiple counts of obtaining controlled substances (oxycodone) by fraud, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 843(a)(3), and aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028A(a)(1). Both of these indictments were part of a larger National Healthcare Fraud and Opioid Takedown coordinated by the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services.
The indictment against Lisa and Robert Hofschulz charges fourteen counts, alleging that CPC collected over $800,000 in cash from patients in 2015 and over $1,000,000 in cash in 2016 because its prescribers, primarily Lisa Hofschulz, prescribed excessive dosages of controlled substances outside of a professional medical practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose. CPC is located in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin.
As part of the alleged conspiracy, Lisa and Robert Hofschulz hired newly graduated nurse practitioners with minimal pain management experience, provided them inadequate training, provided no written policies, and pressured them to prescribe dosages similar to Lisa Hofschulz to patients. Lisa and Robert Hofschulz also failed to provide the new nurse practitioners a (legally required) collaborative physician for much of the time period covered by the conspiracy. The indictment also alleges Lisa and Robert Hofschulz directed an individual not authorized to issue prescriptions (Registered Nurse) to distribute controlled substance prescriptions to customers when authorized prescribers refused. Additionally, Lisa Hofschulz mailed controlled substance prescriptions or allowed them to be picked up from the front desk of CPC without being seen by Lisa Hofschulz or any other prescribers. The indictment alleges that Lisa and Robert Hofschulz “caused an enormous amount of opioids to be distribute throughout Wisconsin, fueling opioid addictions in numerous individuals, while collecting huge sums of cash for themselves.” Finally, the indictment charges that 13 specific prescriptions were issued outside a professional medical practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose.
The indictment against Kameka Simpson, Eric Jasper, and Brittany Washington, each of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, charges eight counts stemming from this group’s passing of fraudulent oxycodone prescriptions purportedly written by an authorized healthcare provider. Some of the defendants were employed by the healthcare provider, who practiced at a pain clinic in West Allis, Wisconsin.
Each count of distribution of controlled substances against Lisa and Robert Hofschulz carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine. If Kameka Simpson, Eric Jasper, and Brittany Washington are convicted of aggravated identity theft, these defendants each face a mandatory minimum prison sentence of two years, a fine of up to $250,000, as much as one year of supervised release, and a special assessment of $100. Each prescription fraud count carries a maximum penalty of four years’ imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000, as much as one year of supervised release, and a special assessment of $100.
Both of these indictments were part of a larger National Healthcare Fraud and Opioid Takedown coordinated by the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services. This year’s takedown was the largest ever health care fraud enforcement action involving 601 charged defendants across 58 federal districts, including 165 doctors, nurses and other licensed medical professionals, for their alleged participation in health care fraud schemes involving more than $2 billion in false billings. Of those charged, 162 defendants, including 76 doctors, were charged for their roles in prescribing and distributing opioids and other dangerous narcotics. Thirty state Medicaid Fraud Control Units also participated in today’s arrests. In addition, HHS announced today that from July 2017 to the present, it has excluded 2,700 individuals from participation in Medicare, Medicaid, and all other Federal health care programs, which includes 587 providers excluded for conduct related to opioid diversion and abuse.
United States Attorney Krueger stated, “Addiction to opioids has created has a crisis in Wisconsin, with the number of overdose deaths continuing to increase. We must act with urgency to reduce overdose deaths, using all available tools, including prevention and treatment programs as well as law enforcement efforts. For many, the road to addiction begins with prescription drugs. That’s why we are committed to prosecuting individuals who distribute prescription drugs outside of a professional medical practice. We commend the excellent joint investigative efforts that led to these indictments.”
“Prescription painkiller abuse is a root cause of the state’s drug epidemic and can lead to heroin use,” said Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel. “Enforcement, along with prevention and treatment, is crucial to stopping opioid abuse in our state. The indictments announced today demonstrate the value of collaboration between a multi-jurisdictional group of local, state, and federal investigators and prosecutors, and that all partners are united in their desire to end the drug epidemic.”
Paul E. Maxwell, Jr., Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the DEA’s Milwaukee Office stated, “The DEA fully supports the good and necessary work of medical providers in the State of Wisconsin and throughout the nation. However, the DEA takes seriously the unethical and criminal diversion or misuse of controlled prescription pain killers, which has driven the national opioid addiction problem this nation currently faces. The DEA continues to work with the medical community to insure the safe prescription of medication to patients.”
“Health care fraud is a threat to this country, both in terms of the well-being of patients and the integrity of government health care programs,” said Lamont Pugh, Special Agent in Charge for the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office of Inspector General. “Our agents will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to ensure these criminals are held accountable for their actions.”
The charges contained in the indictments announced today are merely allegations. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The Lisa and Robert Hofschulz case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), the Medicaid Fraud Control and Elder Abuse Unit of the Wisconsin Department of Justice, and Internal Revenue Service—Criminal Investigation. It is being prosecuted by United States Attorney Matthew D. Krueger and Assistant United States Attorneys Zachary Corey and Michael Carter.
The Kameka Simpson, Eric Jasper, and Brittany Washington case was investigated by the DEA, the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General, and the Medicaid Fraud Control and Elder Abuse Unit of the Wisconsin Department of Justice. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jonathan Koenig.
Information and resources concerning the opioid crisis and the DEA’s “360 Strategy” for addressing the crisis may be found at the DEA’s website, www.dea.gov
Information about “Dose of Reality,” the State of Wisconsin’s effort to prevent prescription painkiller abuse in Wisconsin is available here: https://doseofrealitywi.gov/
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For Additional Information Contact:
Public Information Officer Dean Puschnig 414-297-1700