Owner, employees of alleged Maryland pill mill indicted

Three people associated with Largo, Md.-based Personal Touch Medical Spa, a pain management clinic, were indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly operating a pill mill, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Maryland reported March 5.

Joyce Shawanda Edwards, Justina Aburime and Thomas Charles Johnson Jr. were all charged March 3 with a count of conspiracy to distribute and dispense oxycodone and with a count of distributing and dispensing oxycodone.

The clinic operated from February 2017 to February 2020, according to the indictment. Ms. Aburime and Mr. Johnson are both nurse practitioners, and were authorized to dispense controlled substances; however, all three parties allegedly distributed and dispensed oxycodone for nonmedical purposes.

The indictment alleged that Ms. Edwards, the clinic's owner and operator, typically charged patients $280 for an initial visit and $250 for each subsequent visit. All three parties allegedly had patients provide either an MRI report, a prescription history or a plan of care from their primary care physician so they could submit a false claim that there was a medical need for oxycodone.

Ms. Aburime and Mr. Johnson allegedly pre-signed blank prescriptions to allow Ms. Edwards to issue oxycodone prescriptions under their names when they were not present. Ms. Edwards is not allowed to prescribe controlled substances, and she allegedly misrepresented herself as a nurse practitioner.

Each defendant faces up to 20 years in prison for each count.

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