Former drug testing company operator gets probation in mail fraud case

By Land Line staff | 12/12/2014

A federal judge has sentenced the former operator of a motor carrier drug testing company to four years probation and eight months home detention following her conviction of mail fraud, according to a release from the US Department of Justice.

United States District Judge Donetta W. Ambrose imposed the sentence on Elizabeth “Betsy” Pope, 49, of Loudon, Tenn.

Pope, operator of Eastgate Laboratory Testing, served as a third-party administrator for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s drug and alcohol testing program for commercial drivers. According to court documents, Eastgate was headquartered at different times in Chattanooga, Tenn., as well as Loudon.

Between January 2006 and March 2012, Pope used the signature of a former medical review officer, referred to in court records as “Dr. W.,” who once worked for Eastgate, but left the company in 2005. Pope billed the company she was contracted to provide drug-screenings for as though her company had actually performed the required services, causing her to receive checks totaling approximately $109,000.

InTransit LLC, a Pennsylvania-based company that provides administrative support to several trucking companies, used Eastgate for its DOT drug-testing program. In the indictment, InTransit accused Pope of defrauding its customers because the company did not have a legitimate medical review officer on staff reviewing test results as Pope claimed.

The fraud came to light when a commercial truck driver with 18 years of experience tried to contact the medical review officer 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, he searched for it on the Internet. The doctor in turn 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.

Staff Writer Clarissa Hawes contributed to this report.

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