Man under investigation for drug trafficking sentenced for health care fraud

By Judy Harrison, BDN Staff
Posted March 08, 2012, at 6:29 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — A South Thomaston man convicted of lying about his income when he applied for and received health care benefits was sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court to five months in federal prison.

Rodney Russell, 48, also was sentenced to three years of supervised release.

In addition to prison time, U.S. District Judge John Woodcock ordered Russell to pay a $5,000 fine but did not order him to pay restitution to Dirigo Health, the state’s subsidized health care program.

While Russell is serving his time for health care fraud, an investigation into his being a part of a major drug trafficking operation will continue, according to court documents.

He was indicted by a federal grand jury in September 2010 on six counts of making a false statement in connection with a health care benefit program. A jury found Russell guilty in April of four counts relating to statements made in 2008 and 2009 and not guilty of two counts covering statements allegedly made in 2007 and 2009.

Russell applied for the subsidized health care program after he lost his job in Bangor in 2006, according to court documents. He continued to receive benefits after he began working part time.

After his conviction, Russell remained free on personal recognizance bail pending sentencing until last month. His bail was revoked Feb. 9 after he was charged in state court in Knox County following an altercation with law enforcement officers who tried to serve a search warrant as part of a drug trafficking investigation, according to court documents.

In the order revoking Russell’s bail, U.S. Magistrate Judge Margaret Kravchuk wrote that he “is under investigation in what I view as a serious drug trafficking case.” The search warrant and supporting documents have been sealed.

Russell faced up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for lying about his income to obtain health care benefits. If indicted for and convicted of federal drug charges, he could face significantly more time behind bars.

http://bangordailynews.com/2012/03/08/news/midcoast/man-under-investigation-for-drug-trafficking-sentenced-for-health-care-fraud/ printed on July 13, 2014