SAN JOSE– A federal grand jury has indicted Monterey County Doctor Deane Leo Crow, as well as four others for their roles in conspiracies to acquire and distribute oxycodone and hydrocodone, Schedule II opioids.
Also indicted were Diane Lynn Crow, Erik Samuel Gonzales, Brittney Lynn Cardona, and Joe Anthony Bernal.
According to the indictment returned October 31, 2019, and unsealed on November 13th, Deane Crow was a physician licensed to practice medicine in the State of California. The indictment alleges that since approximately August of 2014, Deane Crow acted outside the course of professional practice and without a legitimate medical purpose when he caused pharmacists to dispense more than 452,000 pills containing controlled substances, including the Schedule II opiates oxycodone and hydrocodone.
“According to this indictment, Dr. Deane Crow and his co-conspirators illegally traded opioid prescriptions for cash,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett. “Thanks to the joint investigation between the FBI and the California Department of Health Care Services Medi-Cal Fraud Investigations Branch, we have successfully dismantled an illegal network pushing opioids onto the streets of Northern California and endangering our local communities.”
“Thank you to the investigators who put a stop to these suspects who are accused of creating a constant flow of highly addictive pain relievers into our communities,” said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona. “DHCS-IB fraud investigators are sworn law enforcement officers whom CSLEA represents. They conduct criminal, administrative and civil investigations into various types of suspected fraud.”
The indictment describes how Deane Crow allegedly provided blank prescriptions to Gonzales and Bernal, sometimes in exchange for money, who then recruited individuals to visit pharmacies and fill prescriptions. Gonzales filled in the type of drugs to be obtained as well as other necessary information such as date of birth of the person to whom the prescription was issued, dosage instructions, and diagnosis codes reflecting the patient’s purported condition. In order to convince pharmacists to fill the prescriptions, Deane Crow falsely represented to pharmacy employees that the individuals in whose names the prescriptions were written were his patients and that the prescriptions had been issued for a legitimate medical purpose. Further, to ensure the prescriptions were filled, Diane Lynn Crow allegedly assisted in the communications between Bernal, Deane Crow, and the pharmacy employees.
In sum, each defendant was charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance, and one count of conspiracy to acquire and obtain possession of a controlled substance by misrepresentation or fraud.
If convicted of the charge of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance, each defendant faces a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment and a $1,000,000 fine. In addition, if convicted of the charge of Conspiracy to Obtain Possession of a Controlled Substance by Misrepresentation or Fraud, each defendant faces a maximum sentence of four years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.
This prosecution is the result of an ongoing investigation by the FBI and the California Department of Health Care Services Medi-Cal Fraud Investigations Branch (DHCS-IB), with the assistance of the DEA and the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office Bureau of Investigation.