NBA YoungBoy orchestrated 'large scale prescription fraud' scheme, Utah police say

Alexandra Del Rosario, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

Rapper NBA YoungBoy and several of his associates orchestrated a "large scale prescription fraud ring" to illegally obtain prescription drugs from multiple Utah-area pharmacies, police allege.

An affidavit filed Thursday by an officer for the Cache County Sheriff's Office named the rapper (born Kentrell DeSean Gaulden) as a primary suspect in a monthslong scheme that involved posing as a doctor to fill prescriptions for promethazine with codeine — a controlled substance — in pharmacies in cities including Hyrum, Logan and Smithfield. The affidavit was filed two days after Gaulden, 24, was arrested Tuesday evening on 63 charges including counts for identity fraud, forgery and "procuring or attempting to procure" prescription drugs, court documents reviewed by The Times said.

A legal representative for Gaulden, also known as YoungBoy Never Broke Again, did not comment to The Times on Friday.

Filed by Cache County officer Tyson Nielsen, the affidavit outlines multiple instances dating from September 2023 to February 2024 of alleged identity fraud and attempts to obtain promethazine with codeine — a key ingredient used to make a cough syrup-laced drink commonly known as "lean," "purple drank" and "sizzurp."

On Sept. 19, 2023, two pharmacies in the Cache County area received a prescription order from a person claiming to be a physician in Provo. The person allegedly posing as the physician provided valid identifying information and requested to fill a prescription for two patients in their 70s, "Bethel White" and "Gwendlyn Cox." In both instances, the real physician (who was not identified) told the pharmacies that he did not have patients with those names and said his "name and credentials are being used fraudulently."

A third fraudulent prescription for the same drug was allegedly called into a Smithfield pharmacy on Jan. 17, 2024, again by "the suspect identifying as the physician." The prescription was for a patient named "Gwendolyn Cox" — not "Gwendlyn" — with a different birthday. Pharmacists were suspicious about the request and attempted to reach the physician but the call was disconnected, the affidavit says. The real physician later confirmed to the Smithfield pharmacy that he did not place the order and did not have a patient named "Gwendolyn Cox."

According to documents, Nielsen began investigating the alleged fraud scheme amid the January incident. Two women allegedly arrived in a white Chevy Tahoe, registered in Gaulden's name, to pick up the prescription for a "friend" from the Smithfield pharmacy. Cache County police detained the unidentified women ("Associates 1 and 2"). They were later arrested for their alleged involvement in the "prescription fraud ring."

Nielsen said that amid his investigation, "Gwendolyn Cox" requested to get in touch. However, during the conversation, the caller allegedly offered "White" as a last name instead of "Cox," and did not provide a full date of birth or a home address. "During the conversation with 'Gwendolyn' it was very clear that a fake voice was being used," Nielsen wrote in the affidavit, before citing the caller's pronunciation of "ask" as "axe," which he said is "consistent "with a southern dialect" in several states including Gaulden's native Louisiana.

Court documents detail an alleged conversation between Nielsen, Gaulden and the rapper's brother ("Associate 3"), which included inquiries about the prescription medicine for "Gwendolyn Cox." The affidavit also lists a handful of "fraudulent activity" under the Provo physician's name; all of them were prescription requests for promethizane with codeine for patients in their late 60s and 70s across Utah pharmacies.

"Several of the names are repeats including combinations of first and last names with different birthdays," Nielsen said.

The affidavit continued: "Through evaluation of the fraud incidents it is clear that there are numerous individuals involved to further the fraud scheme, identified as an enterprise. The ongoing fraud and suspected drug distribution occurring between Kentrell Gaulden and his associates further substantiates the Pattern of Unlawful Activity as they have engaged in at least three episodes of unlawful activity that are all similar in purpose, results, participants, victims and methods of commission."

Gaulden was arrested on Tuesday when Cache County officers executed a search warrant on his Utah mansion. Guests at Gaulden's home were also detained.

In the home search, police found a gun the rapper claimed belonged to his wife, two bottles of the antibiotic doxycycline (one prescribed to Gaulden, another to a patient named "Caroline White") and several bottles of promethazine with codeine, the affidavit says. Officers also seized all electronic devices in the home, for which Gaulden allegedly did not provide passwords.


Nielsen alleged that the Grammy-nominated "Need It" rapper denied "knowledge of any illegally possessed prescription" and fraud schemes.

According to the affidavit, Gaulden's previous run-ins with the law date to 2018 when he was arrested for alleged aggravated assault and kidnapping. He was arrested again in 2019 and 2020. In March 2021, a federal grand jury indicted Gaulden, accusing the musician of possessing an unregistered firearm and of "possession of firearms by a convicted felon" in connection to his 2020 case. Since October 2021, he has been under house arrest in his home in Weber County.

The affidavit concludes by alleging that Gaulden "has participated in an ongoing criminal enterprise that has been involved in the commission of multiple felonies," despite his house arrest.

"According to the FBI, Kentrell is the known leader of a violent gang from the Louisiana area," the affidavit continues. "Based on Kentrell's history, it is apparent that he is prone to violence."

Gaulden, who was born in Baton Rouge, began rapping as a teenager posting his music to YouTube. After signing to the music label Never Broke Again, Gaulden released his first album "Before I Go" in 2016, which paved the way for more releases and collaborations with rappers 21 Savage, Boosie Badazz, Yo Gotti, Young Thug and Future. The rapper's ascent was mottled with legal trouble, including an arrest for his alleged connection in a 2016 shooting. Despite this, his music career endured.

In 2022, Gaulden first entered the Grammys conversation: He earned a melodic rap performance nomination for his work in Tyler, the Creator's song "Wusyaname."

Speaking to Billboard while under house arrest in February 2023, Gaulden said he looks forward to "change" upon release.

"I am very curious of the person who I shall become," he said.


(L.A. Times researcher Scott Wilson contributed to this report.)


©2024 Los Angeles Times. Visit latimes.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


blog comments powered by Disqus