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Office manager for Greensburg doctor, 4 others charged in drug-acquisition scheme | TribLIVE.com
Westmoreland

Office manager for Greensburg doctor, 4 others charged in drug-acquisition scheme

Paul Peirce
| Wednesday, February 13, 2019 11:47 a.m
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Using a dual combination of active ingredients, Suboxone offers those who are addicted to painkillers, especially in the case of opiates, an effective way to fight their addictions.

A former office manager for Dr. Nabil Jabbour, a Greensburg physician facing federal charges for illegal distribution of Suboxone and money laundering, was among five people state police arrested Wednesday on charges of being conspirators in an alleged drug acquisition operation.

Jabbour’s office manager, Sabrina D. Thomas, 27, of Fairbank, Fayette County, and four Westmoreland County residents who allegedly permitted their identities to be used by Thomas in the alleged scheme, were arraigned before Hempfield District Judge Mark Mansour on charges of illegal acquisition of a controlled substance, being part of corrupt organizations, forgery and identity theft. All were released on $10,000 unsecured bond.

Residents charged with being part of the drug-acquisition conspiracy are Rhonda D. Anthony, 42, Jacqueline R. Keys, 33, and Adam L. Fincik, 35, all of West Newton; and Rebecca R. Carwithen, 24, of Monessen.

Thomas and an accomplice — a Jabbour patient who is not yet charged — would allegedly use Jabbour’s personal identifying information and DEA number to call in fraudulent Suboxone prescriptions using the residents’ personal information, even though they were never patients of Jabbour, according to court documents filed by Trooper Christopher Cole of Greensburg.

Anthony, Carwithen, Fincik and Keys are accused of going to various pharmacies in the region to obtain the prescriptions, Cole alleges. Suboxone is used to treat opioid addiction.

Cole reported that he was able to document the drug-acquisition scheme occurred on multiple occasions from June 2015 through February 2016.

“(Dr. Jabbour) indicated that the prescriptions were not authorized by him and not issued pursuant to his employment as a medical doctor. He did not authorize the use of his name, identifying information or DEA number for these purposes,” Cole reported.

Anthony told investigators that the scheme was a way “to make some extra money.”

“Anthony would immediately sell the pills for money, or she would give them to her daughter, Carwithen, who was a recovering heroin addict,” Cole reported.

The participants told Cole that sometimes they would split the money with Thomas or keep the pills for themselves.

Places where the fraudulent prescriptions were passed included Walmart pharmacies in Greensburg, North Huntingdon, Rostraver and Uniontown; the Medicine Shoppe in Greensburg and New Stanton Pharmacy, Cole reported.

In September, Jabbour was indicted in a 25-count federal indictment on charges of distribution of Suboxone outside the usual course of professional practice, using and maintaining a drug-involved premises, health care fraud, and money laundering. His trial is scheduled to begin June 3 before U.S. District Court Judge Arthur Schwab in Pittsburgh.

The grand jury alleged Jabbour, who practiced on Harvey Avenue in Greensburg and Connellsville, between July 27, 2016, and December 13, 2016, distributed Suboxone on 17 occasions outside the usual course of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose.

Jabbour also is charged with defrauding Medicare and Medicaid through his illegal dispensing practices and with money laundering based on cash transactions in excess of $10,000 that he initiated at the Meadows Casino in Washington County on five occasions between July 26, 2015, and July 25, 2016.

Jabbour’s attorney, Michael J. DeRiso of Pittsburgh, said he believes the arrests will impact the case against Jabbour.

“I definitely think it will have an impact on Dr. Jabbour’s case. We knew this was coming and it corroborates what we knew was coming,” DeRiso said.

“But we haven’t seen all of the documents so the impact is pretty difficult to evaluate at this time,” DeRiso said.

Reached after her arraignment, Thomas said she does not agree with all of the allegations reported by state police in the complaint.

“I don’t have an attorney yet, so I can’t go into detail. But I will tell you the troopers I spoke with left a lot of stuff I told them out, and I don’t remember telling them a lot of the things that they wrote I said in the documents I received today,” Thomas said.

Paul Peirce is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Paul at 724-850-2860, ppeirce@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

Categories: News | Westmoreland
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