Episode 212: Melissa Osborne – Diluted Trust, Chemo Pharmacy Fraud

Former agent Melissa Osborne served in the FBI for six years. A licensed pharmacist prior to her appointment, she worked on a White-Collar Crime Squad in the Kansas City Field Office, investigating Healthcare Fraud, Telemarketing Fraud and Intellectual Property Rights during her Bureau career. Melissa was also a member of the Kansas City Field Office Evidence Response Team (ERT).

In this episode of FBI Retired Case File Review, Melissa reviews the FBI major case code named Diluted Trust. The investigation involved Robert Courtney, a Kansas City pharmacist who diluted cancer drugs that he prepared for physicians. As a licensed pharmacist, Melissa Osborne lent her expertise to the chemo pharmacy fraud investigation. Robert Courtney pleaded guilty to intentionally diluting 98,000 prescriptions given to 4,200 patients. He was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison. The Diluted Trust case has been a topic on an episode of  CNBC’s American Greed called “Deadly Rx for Greed” and a documentary on the Oxygen Network show License to Kill.

Melissa left the FBI in 2003 and returned to her former profession as a pharmacist. She has owned her own pharmacy, worked in transplant pharmacy, geriatric pharmacy, compounding pharmacy, and psychiatric pharmacy. Melissa has also served as an Adjunct Faculty Member for several pharmacy schools. She was awarded the 2008 National Community Pharmacy Associations (NCPAA) Preceptor of the Year Award for her work as a preceptor to pharmacy students sharing lessons learned from the Diluted Trust case. Melissa is working on a book about the investigation.

Special Agent (Former)

Melissa Osborne

1997 – 2003









“We get the lab results from those covert purchases. These doses should have been exactly what she ordered. The highest was 28 percent of what [the doctor] ordered. The lowest was around zero percent, hardly a trace of medication.”—Former Agent Melissa Osborne

The following are links to articles and documentaries about the Diluted Trust investigation:

The Kansas City Star – Pharmacist Robert Courtney admits he diluted drugs

New York Times – 6/8/2003: The Toxic Pharmacist

CNBC AMERICAN GREED: SEASON 2 – Deadly Rx For Greed Evidence Files

Oxygen – License To Kill (VIDEO): S2 – E6 – Deadly Pharmacist

Oxygen Network – License To Kill-Extra (VIDEO):  Former FBI Special Agent Discusses Robert Courtney

Kansas City pharmacist, Robert Courtney, was convicted of intentionally diluting life-saving chemotherapy drugs in the FBI major case Diluted Trust.







Dr. Verda Hunter provided for potency test samples of six prescriptions prepared by Pharmacist Robert Courtney. None contained more than half of the correct dosage of cancer drugs.









Robert Courtney admitted to diluting 72 different medications, potentially affecting 98,000 prescriptions for 4,200 patients.









This Kansas City Star editorial cartoon illustrates the sentiments of the families of Robert Courtney’s victims.












Jerri Williams

View posts by Jerri Williams
Jerri Williams, a retired FBI agent, author and podcaster, jokes that she writes about the FBI to relive her glory days. After 26 years with the Bureau specializing in major economic fraud and corruption investigations, she calls on her professional encounters with scams and schemers to write police procedurals inspired by true crime FBI cases in her Philadelphia FBI Corruption Squad crime fiction series featuring flawed female FBI agent Kari Wheeler. Jerri’s FBI for Armchair Detectives nonfiction series enables readers to discover who the FBI is and what the FBI does by debunking misconceptions about the FBI in books, TV, and movies. Her books are available as ebooks, paperbacks, and audiobooks wherever books are sold. She’s also the host of FBI Retired Case File Review, a true crime podcast with more than 300 episodes available on all popular podcast apps and YouTube.


  1. Philip RollandSeptember 6, 2021

    Excellent story on pharmacist who diluted chemo drugs. Was Courtney an actual FBI agent or did they just give her a special field appointment so they could use her to catch this guy ? I cannot imagine any pharmacist wanting to work for or be an agent for the FBI.
    A forensic accounting would have revealed the discrepancy between the amount of drug ordered and the amount billed to insurance.
    Sadly, these patients would die even with the correct drug treatment. He did cheat these families out of time with their loved ones.
    How interesting that a doctor was chosen to narrate this story. Its usually the doctor that is the subject of investigation and not the pharmacist.

    1. Jerri WilliamsSeptember 7, 2021

      Thanks for listening! Melissa Osborne was a pharmacist who served as an FBI agent for several years before resigning and returning to work in the pharmaceutical industry. She was my guest to review her old case.


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