MIAMI, Fl. (CW69 News at 10)
South Florida federal prosecutors have charged Hialeah residents Alberico Ahias Crespo, 45, and Jorge Diaz Gutierrez, 65, with conspiring to distribute Oxycodone, obstruct justice, and make false statements to the FBI. Crespo is a Special Agent with the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), who, during the time of the alleged crimes, worked as part of the South Florida Health Care Fraud Strike Force. Crespo allegedly used his position as an agent to both advance the drug distribution crimes and impede related federal health care fraud investigations, including investigations on which Crespo himself worked.
Ariana Fajardo Orshan, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, FBI, Miami Field Office, and Derrick L. Franklin, Special Agent in Charge, HHS-OIG, Special Investigations Branch, made the announcement.
According to the complaint affidavit charging criminal conduct from September 2019 to June 2020, Diaz was part of an illegal Oxycodone distribution system involving patients, pharmacies, and medical clinics. Diaz allegedly recruited patients and sent them to particular medical clinics to obtain Oxycodone prescriptions that the patients did not need. Once the patients obtained the prescriptions, they would give them to Diaz in exchange for money. Diaz allegedly would fill the prescriptions at certain pharmacies and sell the Oxycodone pills (at a mark-up) to third party street dealers.
According to the affidavit, Diaz and Crespo were associates. Crespo allegedly used his position as an HHS-OIG Special Agent working on health care fraud cases to protect Diaz’s Oxycodone operation. According to the affidavit, Crespo did this by monitoring Strike Force investigations involving Diaz, accessing and disclosing sensitive law enforcement information to Diaz, updating Diaz on the progress of health care fraud investigations, and coaching Diaz on how to lie to investigators and tamper with evidence.
The narcotics and obstruction charges each carry a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment. The materially false statements charge carries a maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment.
U.S. Attorney Fajardo Orshan commended the investigative efforts of FBI and HHS-OIG, Special Investigations Branch. Assistant United States Attorneys Sean T. McLaughlin and Christopher Clark are prosecuting this case.
A criminal complaint is a charging instrument containing allegations. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.