A Bellevue dentist’s former employee was sentenced Friday in federal court for faking prescriptions and abusing her employer’s credit card to pay for her children’s private school tuition and other expenses, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The damage done by the Lori Elizabeth Bowman, 38, of Bothell, to cover up her activity cost the dentist his license to practice and left patients unable to charge their insurance companies to pay for their dental bills, according to federal prosecutors.
Bowman faces 30 months in prison, 120 hours of community service, $174,336 in restitution, and three years of supervised release after pleading guilty to acquiring a controlled substance by fraud, credit card access device fraud, and aggravated identity theft, according to the office of U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.
At sentencing U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez said, “The financial harm you caused the dentist elevates this crime to a different level.”
According to the press release, a pharmacy notified the Drug Enforcement Administration about unusual prescribing practices by the dentist who employed Bowman. The dentist told investigators that the prescriptions were forged, and trail led to his employee, according to the press release.S
Investigators discovered that in 2010 and 2011, Bowman obtained 1,920 Vicodin ES tablets using prescriptions in her own name and in the name of her husband, brother-in-law, mother, friend, step-sister-in-law and her hair dresser at Rite-Aid and Bartell Drugs. Around that same time period, Bowman used fake prescriptions in her own name around 200 times to acquire approximately 8,580 hydrocodone pills at local pharmacies, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Investigators say that Bowman also made unauthorized charges on her employer’s office credit card, totalling around approximately $174,336. The total includes ATM cash advances of $122,880; ATM transaction fees of $4,922; and retail purchases and other charges of more than $46,534.
According to investigators, Bowman paid for her children’s private school tuition with the money obtained, which totaled $25,606, and charged a family vacation to Las Vegas totaling $4,692 to the office credit card.
The charges averaged approximately $7,924 per month, investigators say.
“Over many months, defendant destroyed key correspondence from medical licensing and insurance authorities in an effort to conceal her conduct. (She) failed to pay licensing, insurance, and tax obligations that placed the dentist’s practice and future retirement at great risk. As a result, the dentist’s patients were left without insurance to cover their dental bills, and the dentist lost his license to practice and incurred significant expenses to correct the effects of (Bowman’s) criminal conduct,” prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memo.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Bowman admitted consuming 30-35 hydrocodone pills per day.
“Prescription drug abuse is growing in our communities, leaving heavy damage in its wake,” said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. “This defendant damaged herself, her family and her employer while a slave to this addiction. This case should be a cautionary tale: if you are struggling with addiction, please get help.”