A Tennessee woman has been sentenced in federal court in to four years probation and eight months home detention following her conviction of mail fraud in connection with a scheme to defraud trucking companies over drug and alcohol test results of drivers.
The sentence was imposed in Pittsburgh on Wednesday on Elizabeth “Betsy” Pope of Loudon, Tennessee, who was indicted in April.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania, information presented to the court showed Pope was in business to assist trucking companies with compliance and testing of their truck drivers for drugs and alcohol under Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations.
The Pittsburgh based victim, InTransit LLC, is an administrative and service company for several national transportation companies, which used Pope, who did business under the name Eastgate Laboratory Testing, as a third party administrator to handle the drug and alcohol testing for them.
Federal regulations require that a percentage of negative tests and all positive drug or alcohol tests must be reviewed by a licensed doctor, known as a medical review officer, to oversee the program and determine if there were any innocent reasons why a test was positive.
On all federally required paperwork, Pope, without authority or permission, used a computer-generated signature of a doctor who had previously worked for her as an MRO for a short time to create the impression that he had done the necessary oversight and reviews when he had not, according to prosecutors.
The fraud reportedly came to light when a commercial truck driver with 18 years of experience tried to contact the MRO after his pre-employment drug test was reported as “diluted” for three consecutive tests. When he was unable to get the contact information from Pope for the MRO, he searched for the MRO on the Internet. The MRO then contacted InTransit to report the unauthorized use of his name.
InTransit did an internal investigation and referred the matter to the Inspector General for the Department of Transportation, according to prosecutors.
Pope billed InTransit as though her company had actually performed the required services, causing InTransit to send her checks totaling approximately $109,000.