Greenbelt, Maryland – Justina Aburime, age 53, of Bowie, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to one count of conspiracy to distribute and dispense oxycodone and one count of distribution and dispensing of oxycodone.
The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; Special Agent in Charge Jarod Forget of the Drug Enforcement Administration - Washington Division; and Special Agent in Charge Maureen Dixon, Office of Investigations, Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services.
According to her guilty plea, from February 2017 to February 2020, Aburime conspired with others, including Thomas Charles Johnson, to distribute and dispense oxycodone outside the scope of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose at Personal Touch Medical Spa, LLP (PTMS), a Largo, Maryland pain management clinic.
As licensed and registered nurse practitioners under the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the state of Maryland, Aburime and Johnson were legally authorized to prescribe controlled substances for legitimate medical purposes.
During her employment with PTMS, Aburime wrote oxycodone prescriptions without a legitimate medical need and outside the scope of professional practice. Aburime allowed an unauthorized person to write oxycodone prescriptions using her medical credentials. Specifically, Aburime allowed PTMS’s owner—who was not authorized to prescribe controlled substances—to prescribe oxycodone to individuals using pre-signed blank prescriptions bearing Aburime’s name and DEA registration number.
In some instances, Aburime was traveling outside the United States at the time of treatment or did not see the patient who was prescribed oxycodone using her credentials. Further, Aburime agreed that she prescribed oxycodone to patients when there was no legitimate need and without considering alternative treatment options. Aburime also agreed that she increased oxycodone dosage over time without a medical justification.
Co-defendant Thomas Charles Johnson, Jr. pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute oxycodone on October 28, 2021 and is scheduled to be sentenced on February 17, 2022 at 12:00 p.m.
Aburime faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison followed by up to a lifetime of supervised release for each count. U.S. District Judge Paula Xinis has scheduled sentencing for April 26, 2022 at 1:00 p.m.
United States Attorney Erek L. Barron commended the DEA and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services- Office of Inspector General for their work in the investigation. Mr. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jessica C. Collins and Elizabeth Wright, who are prosecuting the case.
For more information on the dangers and effects of opioids, please visit https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/community-outreach. For more information on the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office, its priorities, and resources available to help the community, please visit www.justice.gov/usao-md and https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/community-outreach.
# # #
USAO - Maryland;
Department of Health and Human Services OIG