June 18, 2018
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Greene man sentenced to 18 months for reselling prescription skin cream online

By Judy Harrison, BDN Staff

PORTLAND, Maine — A 38-year-old Greene man was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court to 18 months in prison on charges related to his illegal sale of a cream prescribed to him by his physician and paid for by MaineCare to treat a chronic skin condition and his opening of a bank account in his brother’s name.

Samuel Hall pleaded guilty in March to one count each of making a false statement to a financial institution, theft of federal funds and mislabeling of a prescription drug, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

In addition to prison time, U.S. District Judge Nancy Torresen sentenced Hall to three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay more than $167,000 in restitution.

Hall opened a bank account in his brother’s name in 2010 using his brother’s identification, according to court documents. He used that account to receive eBay payments from the unlawful sale of prescription creams paid for by MaineCare.

He also failed to advise the Maine Department of Health and Human Services of changes to his income, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. As a result, between April 2011 and December 2012, Hall received federal benefits for which he was not eligible.

Hall faced up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million on the charge of making false statements; up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 on the theft charge; and up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $1,000 on the mislabeling charge.

Under the prevailing federal sentencing guidelines, Hall faced between 33 and 41 months in prison, according to court documents.

Federal Public Defender David Beneman urged Torresen to impose a sentence below the federal sentencing guideline range of 18 months, in part because Hall is transgender and more vulnerable to sexual and physical abuse while incarcerated, according to Beneman’s sentencing memorandum.

“Being transgender is not a sign of promiscuity nor an invitation to be seuxally assaulted,” Beneman wrote. “Yet he faces constant sexual aggression of either torment for being feminine, or sexual assault as easy prey. Neither the county jail, nor the Bureau of Prisons are set up to accommodate transgender individuals.”

The public defender also argued that the loss amount of more than $266,000 overstated the seriousness of the offense. Hall’s total income from the medication sales was slightly more than $3,317, according to the sentencing memorandum. MaineCare’s cost for the cream was about $6,450.

“The guideline loss amount reflects not just the medication Samuel resold, but rather the total dollar cost of all medical benefits Samuel received once Samuel’s income level was above the MaineCare cutoff,” said Beneman. “The entire cost of his medications; legitimate and illegitimate, become ‘loss.’

“Samuel had valid prescriptions and required all of the medications he received,” the public defender said. “While he may have been overprescribed, and have overutilized some of the creams, they were all actually prescribed for him by his treating doctor.”

The cream, Lac-Hydrin, is used to treat dry, itchy, scaly skin, according to WebMD.

Hall has been held without bail at the Cumberland County Jail since February, according to court documents. That time will be applied to his sentence, Beneman said Monday.

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