Oakton Dentist Convicted of Illegally Distributing Narcotics, Health Care Fraud, and ID Theft
|U.S. Attorney’s Office November 16, 2012|
ALEXANDRIA, VA—Hamada Makarita, 51, of Oakton, Virginia, was convicted today by a federal jury of using his position as a dentist to illegally distribute prescription pain pills to patients, employees, and a woman whom he dated. He was also convicted of using the identity of another dentist to fraudulently bill an insurance company of more than $160,000 in claims.
Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Timothy A. Gallagher, Special Agent in Charge of the Criminal Division at the FBI’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement after the verdict was accepted by United States District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema.
“This was an abuse of power, drugs, and women,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride. “Dr. Makarita’s arrogance led him to believe that he could illegally distribute highly addictive drugs to others and get away with it. This is just one of hundreds of cases we have brought in Operation Cotton Candy to crack down on those abusing prescription pain medicines.”
“Dr. Makarita abused his power by writing unnecessary prescriptions that had no medical need and then submitting fraudulent claims for reimbursement,” said FBI SAC Gallagher. “Health care fraud is a growing threat that harms not only those illegally prescribed powerful drugs but companies and consumers that pay for the fraud. The results of Operation Cotton Candy demonstrate the commitment that the FBI has in uncovering this type of fraud and bring perpetrators to justice.”
Makarita was convicted of conspiracy, health care fraud, aggravated identity theft, and five counts of dispensing controlled substances. He faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison on the health care fraud charge, 20 years in prison for conspiracy and each dispensing controlled substances charge, and a consecutive two-year sentence for the aggravated identity theft charge. Sentencing has been scheduled for February 15, 2013.
According to court records and evidence at trial, Makarita owns and operates a dental practice in Oakton, Virginia, and advertised online at www.fixasmile.com. From about 2007 to 2012, Makarita illegally distributed and dispensed prescription medicine (Fentanyl, Vicodin, and Valium) to patients, employees, and at least one girlfriend, all without a legitimate dental purpose and beyond the bounds of a dental practice. Makarita directed those who received the prescriptions he issued to return to him some or all the prescribed medicine. On multiple occasions, Makarita would distribute prescription pills to patients and at least one girlfriend in social settings and for prurient and sexual purposes. On one occasion, the defendant took explicit photographs of an unconscious girlfriend who was under the influence of alcohol and Vicodin.
In addition, the jury found that Makarita provided more than $160,000 in services to his family members and billed them to an insurance provider in violation of the provider’s contract. He billed the services under the name of another dentist who did not practice in Makarita’s office at that time. Makarita received more than $91,000 in reimbursement from the provider for these fraudulent claims.
The investigation was conducted by the FBI’s Washington Field Office. Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mazen M. Basrawi and Danya E. Atiyeh and Assistant U.S. Attorney Gene Rossi are prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.
This case is part of an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation (Operation Cotton Candy), which has been focusing on the illegal distribution by numerous doctors, pharmacists, nurses, and patients of pain medication. This OCDETF matter has secured more than 200 drug-trafficking convictions and guilty pleas.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.justice.gov/usao/vae.