Newark man pleads guilty to charge stemming from federal probe into scheme to obtain oxycodone

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Maurice Bertrand, 34, of Newark pleaded guilty just before jury selection was set to begin in a federal trial to one count of fraudulently obtaining oxycodone, and one count of attempting to fraudulently obtain oxycodone.

In September 2019, Bertrand was charged in connection with his scheme to present forged prescriptions written under the name of a Center City doctor he had never met at a Marcus Hook area pharmacy. Evidence to presented at trial would have shown that in May 2019, Bertrand obtained 90 oxycodone tablets, and in June 2019, he was intercepted by law enforcement while attempting to obtain 120 oxycodone tablets.

The charges against Bertrand and 12 other defendants were originally announced as part of the formation of the Newark/Philadelphia Regional Medicare Fraud Strike Force, a joint law enforcement effort that brings together the resources and expertise of the Health Care Fraud Unit in the Department of Justice Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, and the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and the District of New Jersey.

The Strike Force focuses its efforts on investigating and prosecuting complex cases from illegal prescribing and distribution of opioids and other dangerous narcotics. Bertrand is the last of the 13 total defendants to plead guilty to federal charges in connection with this investigation and faces up to eight years in prison.