BANGOR, Maine — An Augusta man who sold 10 of his OxyContin pills each month and used the money to buy the next month’s prescription was sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court to five years of probation for not reporting the illegal income to the Social Security office.
Benjamin Peaslee Jr., 62, also was ordered to pay more than $34,000 in restitution for Social Security payments, MaineCare coverage and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits he was not eligible for, according to information posted on the court’s electronic case filing system.
Peaslee pleaded guilty in March to one count each of concealment of information material to eligibility for Social Security benefits and false statement in a federal matter. He has been free on bail since he was arraigned on the charges in February.
Between Jan. 28, 2008, and Oct. 29, 2010, Peaslee, who is confined to a wheelchair, sold 12 pills from his OxyContin prescription for $100 per pill, according to the prosecution version of events to which he pleaded guilty. He used the $1,200 to pay for the next month’s dosage, which cost $1,100.
Court documents did not name the person to whom Peaslee sold the pills.
Peaslee asked his doctor for a prescription for the brand name version of the painkiller oxycodone, which was not covered by MaineCare, because the generic brand had unpleasant side effects, according to the sentencing memorandum filed by Peaslee’s attorney, Hunter Tzovarras of Bangor.
Peaslee faced up to five years in federal prison and fines of up to $250,000 on each count. Under the prevailing federal sentencing guidelines, the recommended sentence was eight to 14 months.
Tzovarras argued successfully in his sentencing memorandum that Peaslee’s multiple medical problems, resulting from a 1984 accident while working in the woods in which he broke his back, would best be addressed outside the prison system.